The Big Oaf and His Hat (2)

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Uncle Bedi
Is jolly, is merry,
He travels to shores
Near and far.
He bounces on oceans,
Flies over huge mountains,
And sails to islands
Small and large.
And when he returns,
He brings with him trinkets
That Mum says are great
But Dad says are far worse than scrap.
And if you ask him
How come it’s lasting,
He’s got no sense or style?
He just smiles, the big oaf,
And says, “Hmm and whatnot.
It’s all because of my hat.”

Writing Tip: Don’t Overuse Exclamation Mark!

Exclamation Mark (or Point) has its place in literature. It is used to convey exaggerated emotions, e.g., anger, enthusiasm, surprise, anguish, and disappointment. But if you overuse it, your character or narrator will come across as an overexcited hyper individual in serious need of a caffeine detox.

Consider this opening paragraph from “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold:

My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. In newspaper photos of missing girls from the seventies, most looked like me: white girls with mousy brown hair. This was before kids of all races and genders started appearing on milk cartons or in the daily mail. It was back when people believed things like that didn’t happen.

What if she’d replaced all full stops with an exclamation mark?

My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie! I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973! In newspaper photos of missing girls from the seventies, most looked like me: white girls with mousy brown hair! This was before kids of all races and genders started appearing on milk cartons or in the daily mail! It was back when people believed things like that didn’t happen!

Not as effective as the original right?

So unless intentional, avoid overusing this punctuation. Consider it as a weapon in your arsenal. Draw it out only when gunning for maximum impact.