Don’t Use Exclamation Points in Your Writing!!!

Do you overuse exclamation points? 😕

Author Don Massenzio

This post was inspired by the book, Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve, by Ben Blatt. This book applies numbers and statistics to some of the age-old adages about writing that we have all been told numerous times. Last week, I posted on the topic of adverb usage.

Exclamation points are the bane of some writers. In his book 10 Rules of Writing, Elmore Leonard states his rule of thumb on exclamation points. “You are allowed no more then two or three per 100,000 words of prose.”

So, just like with Stephen King and his adverb ratio, Blatt sets out to see if Leonard and other renowned writers subscribe to this rule. He starts by analyzing Leonard’s 45 novels which total 3.4 million words. His rule would have resulted in the use of 102 exclamation points in his writing over his career. His actual number was 1,651 which…

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Use Exclamation Points in Your Writing!!!

  1. I’ve tried to cut down since I had a beta reader point out to me that I used over 100 exclamation points just in the first Avarice novella prior to publishing LOL – that was mostly Zoe’s fault. It had also been riddled with question marks, which is more difficult to get rid of, since you have to restructure the sentences into statements, rather than questions!

    I’m a rebel, though, and I’m also not a reader who’s thrown by punctuation marks when used for the purpose of conveying emotion. If someone is yelling or excited, use a friggin’ exclamation mark, that’s what it’s for. Sometimes the nit-pickers get too carried away.

    Liked by 1 person

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