Archive for May 31st, 2009

May 31 2009

Common Writing Mistakes: Unstylish Punctuation

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

1.  Please don’t use multiple exclamation points or question marks. It’s far less likely to suggest that the character is really surprised than that the author is really inexperienced.  It’s cheesy.

  • REJECTION:  “I hate you, Martha!!!!”
  • REJECTION: “How could you do that to me??”

2. I recommend against giving the narrator exclamation points. “John turned around.  Then a ninja burst through the ceiling!”

3. Smiley faces are generally a poor choice in professional communication. If your novel manuscript, query or proposal use any kind of emoticon, I’m guessing (X_X).

4. Please use exclamation points sparingly. Strings of exclamations are generally disorientating and hard to process. “I’m surly! You’re not listening to me! That is unacceptable! I’m getting even surlier!”   If you use exclamations too often, they will become diluted and lose their zing.

5. Please be REALLY careful about capitalizing sentences for emphasis. “AND NOW YOU DIE, MR. BOND!”  I wouldn’t even consider doing it more than once or twice per novel.  And even that might be unnecessarily risky.

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