News Flash!!! Exclamation Points Do Not Make You a Better Writer!!!

Writing is a tricky craft, one that is cultivated slowly and carefully over many years (with lots of bad prose along the way, to be sure).

There are many paths to improvement. Join a writer’s circle. Send drafts of your material to trusted peers. Attend a writing workshop. Or, best of all I’m convinced, make writing part of your daily routine.

I am troubled by a phenomenon that seems to be growing in popularity: Overuse of exclamation points. There seem to be two parts to this trend.

One part involves the use of multiple exclamation points at the end of a sentence!!! It may not even be an especially exciting sentence!!! But, ooh, if I just bandy about some excessive punctuation, I know my missive will read better!!!

The second part rears its ugly head by the use of exclamation points after every sentence! No matter how mundane! This is becoming a disturbing craze! I’d like to see it stopped! Many seem to believe that the use of that extra mark really helps bring writing to life!

Um, no. In the hands of even a moderately skilled writer, these handy little marks add appropriate emphasis when employed properly. Used wantonly, they make even the most urbane professional seem like a gum-snapping teenager.

How can we band together to bring this boiling pot of exclamation points down to a reasonable simmer? Chime in with your ideas now (hmm, does this call for an exclamation point?).


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