I love John Scalzi's "Writing Tips for Non-Writers Who Don't Want to Work at Writing", especially:
1. Punctuate, damn you: For God's sake, is it really so hard to know where to put a comma? When people read, even in their brains, there's usually some part of them that is sounding out the words. Without appropriate punctuation, especially commas, that word-speaking part will eventually choke on the sentence. Having said that, there's a tendency to over-punctuate as well, particularly with exclamation points. Too little punctuation makes it seem you want to collapse someone's lung, too much makes it look like you're a 14-year-old girl writing an IM. You want to avoid both.You know who you are. :-)
Regarding exclamation points, just stop using them. Put yourself on a diet of one exclamation point per day, or per 10,000 words.
My eyes are still bleeding from the 20 pages of a book I tried to read the other week. I stopped reading after 20 pages because I wanted scream. Loudly.
This amazing hardcover was stuffed with ten and more exclamation points per page - that's ten or more per 250 words. I have no idea what the author thought he was doing. The book was published by a major publisher too. It either had no editor, or the editor had lost the will to live from confronting all those exclamation points.
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