Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Exclamation Point...

Somewhere along the line, I picked up an aversion to the !. I don't know why, I have no logical explanation. Just one day, I looked at the innocent ! with a cock-eyed glance and decided right there and then, if I could survive without using the !, I would.

This isn't to say that the ! isn't a perfectly good punctuation mark---it has it's uses. It's a quick, easy way to convey excitement; it's the proper punctuation for interjections (show excitement and emotion... Oops. School House Rock---taking a detour on a rabbit trail here, who can still sing along with Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here...Or A Noun is a Person, Place or Thing...Or the Preamble to the Constitution? Okay, back to the !.)--- There's really no reason not to use the !, yet I still find myself second guessing every one that slips into my writing.

I do think that the ! can be over used, and it makes me cringe. I think the ! has a place in children's books, but really shouldn't be used overly much in any other books. Back in my editing days, I edited authors who loved the ! so much, it wore me out to read their work. Really. Think about it. The ! is a peppy, bouncing, exciting punctuation mark. It's energetic and forceful. It's vivid and demands you notice it. It also makes no apologies for itself or its inability to tone itself down.

When you talk to someone who speaks in exclamation points, not only do you hear them, you can almost see the little ! dancing around the speaker's mouth. A strange phenomenon, maybe it only happens to me. I don't see little ? when someone asks me a question. Weird.

So...there it is. Out there for the whole world to see---my ! Phobia. At the moment, I'm convinced I'm the only one who suffers from this odd phobia, but I think I'll just have a bite of chocolate and try to ignore it.

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