|Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld|
While talking about what needed done to THE CHAOS SHELTER for it to go on submission, my agent mentioned that there may be too many exclamation points.
Before I sent out my first query I did a search for all of those silly, do nothing, unnecessary filler words I use in abundance when I’m writing and edited them out. Like walk (69 times), stand (47 times), sit (81 times), just (163 times – YIKES!), or run (76 times). I got them all down to under 30 instances. I was sure that’s all I needed. Well, until the word “exclamation point” escaped my agent’s mouth.
At first I thought, “It’s a middle grade action book. Aren’t exclamation points kind of a given?” But I did a search tonight because I’m in the business of making my agent happy. 🙂
(spits water out on keyboard)
Microsoft Word wouldn’t even list them because there were too many.
Tonight I combed through each and every one of those pesky little exclamation points to weed the unnecessary ones out. What did I find?
I found one word (can’t remember which one…) with one of these after it — word!!!!!!!!! Got rid of 8 of those little bad boys with just one word. And in another instance I found one of these funny little suckers — What?!
So not only was it a question, it was a very strong question?
Don’t make my mistake — edit your punctuation as well as your filler words. Your (future) agent or editor will thank you for it.