For a while now I have been pondering the use of that little symbol thingy we all have access to – those of us that write things down anyway – the exclamation mark.
My consideration is: should I use it? Or at least, should I use it regularly?
For example, if I write – BLOODY HELL, should I add a !
Because this week I am somewhat racked off that Alsatis – yes I can name, shame and SHOUT about the bastards who run our internet service – have not managed to mend it in over a week!
And now I am not only angry but lonely.
No, not lonely as in: I have no friends – I have the lovely Wendy and she is my heaven.
But that my writing colleagues are out there spreading their seed while I am jamming without an audience. And, as always, I have something to say…
Apart from the obvious drawbacks, however, not having the net to defer my attention has allowed me to get some work done this week - for work, read scribbling some words which someone will pay for – and that can only be a good thing.
With an abundance of time left over that would usually be filled with twittering, I have also found time to reduce that backlog of books marked as ‘to read’ on my Kindle, mostly by debutant of authors. It has been, at the very least, an interesting experience. To quote a line from Genesis – the rock band, not the bible – ‘some are wise, some otherwise.’
As part of the job description as an author, it is essential that we read, for inspiration, understanding as well as bench-marking. It’s also good to see what the competition is doing.
Which brings me, eventually, round to why I am writing this passage - despite there being no internet to post it to.
Well, I am an author, allegedly, so no point in using a few words when many will do.
My question is – as stated at the top of this page – how often should we correctly use the exclamation mark?
Because, in my mind, it is grossly over-used by amateurs in an attempt to make things sound funny when they aren’t - instead making the author look, well, amateur. And equally it is expected by illiterate readers to tell them when something is meant to be a joke which they would otherwise failed to giggle at.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I am a great writer, or a literary genius. I am certainly a crap editor - I long ago gave up that quest.
But please, please. If you have to use an exclamation mark at the end of every flippant sentence, then rethink what you are writing!
There, I’ve said it. Now, that warranted one, I think. Just to prove a point.
And what about the use of more than one exclamation mark?
Oh my god!!!
Kill me now!!!
Unnecessary is far too milder word for it. Please don’t. Ever!