Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The Evils of Punctuation

Commas confuse, Colons and Semi's introduce, Apostrophes are mine, Quotation marks are direct and indirect, periods put an end to it all. Dashes, parentheses and hyphens all have their places but the one that grinds my brain is the EXCLAMATION POINT!

I've been reading a short story magazine and one story that has exclamation points in every other sentence. I feel like I'm reading sentences that go like this, "He handed me ROSES!" and "I LIKED THEM!" "We went to DINNER!" "We came HOME!" "It was FUN!"
Honey, it you get that excited over the little stuff I fear for what will happen when something really exciting hits you.

Don't get me wrong. I used exclamation points, but only when the character is screaming. which isn't normal in every day conversation. Fore instance; "He's got a knife!" might earn one of those pesky points. Or even, "Help! The baby fell in the pool!"

It makes me wonder if the author of this short read her work out loud and how did she speak the exclamations!!!! Is she one of those over excited peppy individuals I'll never understand? Or did she write without realizing how excited this character would sound if you put an exclamation point in her mouth?

And why the heck did the editor not do something about this?

File this under pet peeve but too many exclamation points distract from the story. Unless you've got a caffeine hyper character who's been popping speed all day. Even then I might have the urge to shoot her.

Am I wrong?
So do you...! ?
What's your rule for the exclamation point?

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

That would drive me batty too. I use exclamation points only in dialogue, and only with curses or really intense emotional expressions.