It’s a brand New Year!
A brand new chance to make changes and resolutions! To lose weight! To read more! To do more of what you love! Like reading!
And, for some nonfiction writers I’ve been editing for lately, to use fewer exclamation points!
Oh. My. Word!
Despite all the typos you can find in my blog (which I don’t pay to have proofread before I send live) I do have a full-time day job editing nonfiction for marketers who build business web pages — from plumbers to proctologists (another type of plumber?).
My job is to make sure Google can find these pages based on the language used in the piece and make sure human beings can read the article without needing to Google definitions and without turning into bobbleheads who click away to a competitor’s website.
It seems after the first of the year, the new batch of writers hired for one marketer’s project is very excited about the assignments — and they also have a knack for stating the obvious. Like, every single idea is super exciting! And so obvious!
Toilets are an essential part of your home! You need a plumber if your toilet is malfunctioning! Quick! Before you get a clog!
Without electricity, your home won’t be as comfortable! Hire an electrician to inspect your wiring today!
Regular bowel movements are necessary for good health! Contact Dr. Procto Plumber Today! We look forward to serving you! Today! Quick! Before you get a clog!
I can’t help but picture some of these sentences tucked inside comic book panels with BAM!, POW!, and BOOM! floating above the characters’ heads in psychedelic colors as they hold their shiny wrenches, amperage testers, and enemas!
You’re probably already worn out by now with all the exclamation points. Punctuation, spacing, and paragraphs affect readers, whether they’re aware of it or not.
The general rule for professional content is to use zero exclamations or just one well-placed exclamation point. That’s it. No matter how excited you are about plumbing or proctologists.
Not one thing in any topic is that exciting all the time. Sorry. Especially anything regarding pipes.
For fiction, it depends on the situation. Sparingly is still best, or you exhaust your audience. Let the action and emotion of the content wear them out, not the punctuation.
For example, if I wanted to promote my new short story collection, Dark Minds, I’d tell you that New Year’s is a great time to pick up the pace with your reading. Or explore new genres, like twisted mysteries that make you wonder if B. A. Paul needs a special session to sort out some issues. (She probably does, but that’s a topic for another post. And if she ever goes to a session like that, she’ll blame Little Miss Muse anyway…)
The stories in Dark Minds include:
Backroad Driver’s Ed
Often and Endlessly
and Coral Cove, which was first seen in Black Cat Mystery Magazine.
You can find it on Amazon for now; I’m slow to get it onto bapaul.com or other distributors. I’ve been too busy taking out exclamation points from the day job pieces.
See? All promotional without one exclamation point.
It can be done.
Now, go get your copy of Dark Minds, and