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Monday, December 14, 2009

These Shoes Make a Statement

Kind of like the exclamation point. We've talked about the comma controversy, and I have to say that the consensus is, there is no consensus. As with many things, though, I doubt a misplaced comma is going to make or break you as far as signing an agent is concerned. The key is to follow the rules the best you can, and when in doubt, go with what you feel best. There are many other inconsistencies about punctuation including the use of the exclamation point. Most say that it shouldn't be used, and I'd have to agree. The words in the dialogue or the actions surrounding the dialogue should show the tone. In other words, the exclamation point isn't needed to make a statement. On a completely unrelated note, what about the spacing at the end of a sentence? Should there be one or two spaces? I learned two, but my kids have learned one. One agent's website recommended two, while another expected only one. So, which is right? I'd have to go with one. Why waste the room? I never did understand why there were two spaces. But, it is a habit which I must break. I automatically space twice. So, what do you think? Exclamation points or not? One or two spaces after the end of a sentence? I can't wait for your feedback.

54 comments:

Robyn Campbell said...

One space! And easy on the exclamation points. Very easy. Can't wait to read the other comments Susan. :)

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

I like blogging b/c I can use all the exclamation points I want!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And as far as spacing...I say one.

I have a musical something on my blog for you today.
~ Wendy

Maha said...

i agree with Robyn
i just wanna tell you that you've got an amazing blog and that I added you to my blog list.

Renee Pinner said...

I think the spacing issue goes back to the Style Guide in use.
I have to admit, I'll miss my exclamation points. It always struck me as THE punctuation mark with character.

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

I agree with you about the exclamation point. They should be used very sparingly. Although, my two-year old disagrees. When I read books to him, he points to the letters and punctuation for me to say them and when I say "exclamation point" he dissolves in to giggles every time. So clearly he thinks they're awesome.

As for spaces. It's automatic for me to put two, I don't know if I can break that when typing.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Hey, Susan!

I think an exclamation point should be rare so that when it appears it's overemphasized. And spaces should be one. I had one prof in college who required two, but she was the only one. It looks like the requirement has changed over the years.

Julie said...

I had to break my habit on the exclamation point but two spaces is counter-intuitive for me and I will always end up getting it wrong some of the time and then being inconsistent so I stick with one.

Valerie Geary said...

No! Exclamation! Points! Oh! No!!!!!!! But seriously. I think they look cheesy expect for in very very rare circumstances. Also: 1 space. That's my 2cents for you.

jbchicoine said...

I think that I read somewhere that the double space had to do with the old requirement of Courier font—evenly spaced, typewriter font—and the double space after a period made it easier to read. Sort of obsolete now, so I understand.

Paul Greci said...

One space is the norm today. Two was the norm in typewriter days.

If you have a ms that has two spaces after each period. Do a search and replace--search for two spaces, replace w/one.

And exclamation points!! Maybe every once in a while.

Natalie said...

I think exclamation points can be used as long as they are used sparingly, and I'm going to go with one space (even though when I type I always use 2 because that's how I learned). I usually go back at the end and use find and replace to delete a space.

Matthew Delman said...

One space after the sentence end, but again it depends on the style guide. As for exclamation points, I tend to use them only when the dialogue doesn't communicate the intensity I want.

I know it should, but there are some turns of phrase that can go either way. Those are the only cases where I approve of dialogue tags or fancy punctuation.

Patti said...

As you know I used the exclamation point way too much. I agree with you on using your words and actions to show intensity. I'm trying not to use them as much.

And I'm a big one space person.

Angie Muresan said...

Goodness! I couldn't drag my eyes away from those shoes!

Well, I say two just because that's what I learned and it comes easier to me. And as you can see from my comment regarding the shoes, I use exclamation points much more than I should.

Jody Hedlund said...

Definitely one space. It's the standard with publishing now. And no exclamation points. As Rachelle once said, go back through and delete as many exclamation points as possible. Then go back through again and delete more. The fewer the better.

Rae said...

I always use two spaces. That is how I was taught. It is easier for me to read also. About the exclamation point - I use them often. Probably too much. but I am hooked. I guess I love emphasis!

Mary said...

I always put two, but for some reason my computer puts three - guess I should just put one and it will all come out alright. I know I shouldn't use the exclamation point, but sometimes I just like it.

Catherine Denton said...

I'm addicted to exclamation marks so I'm constantly deleting them. And I would say one space but I habitually still put two.

strugglingwriter said...

I learned two spaces in "typewriting class" in high school. And no, I'm not that old! :) However, I have heard that one space is the way to go when submitting manuscripts.

I don't use exclamation points at all, for the reasons you gave.

Jennifer Shirk said...

No exclamation points!! (Unless your character is yelling) LOL

I use two spaces--again, habit. But I heard it makes it harder on the copy editor so it's better to use one.

Tere Kirkland said...

LOL, I know I abuse exclamation points. And how's this for confusing, I used to use two spaces after a period. But when I started writing my wip in present tense, I used the one space, just to remind myself how different it was from my last novel.

Of course, the most recent time I revised my last novel, one of the changes I made was to eliminate that extra space! ;)

Karen said...

I LOVE exclamation points!!

I seriously overuse them in my blogging and commenting. I think it might be some kind of sickness.

But I don't think I really ever use them in my writing. Maybe if I'd writing a particularly heated argument or something. Maybe.

I'd be more likely to use them if I was writing a children's or young adult story, probably.

Kristi Faith said...

one space! no exclamations! Though I like to see exclamation points in young children's books. It is one of their 'hints' in reading that this is exciting! :)

Stephanie L. McGee said...

Two spaces. As for exclamation points, I think it's situational. I know I've had my 10yo MC use exclamation points a couple of times. It's just one of those things that I think can be effective when used appropriately.

L. T. Host said...

I use one space, and exclamation points are sparse in my work. Unless something REALLY needs emphasis, I just go for periods and question marks.

I'll have mad libs up with yours later today :)

destrella said...

I was also taught two and it is a hard habit to break. I think I am too concise with my writing, so I need "!" to set the tone.:O)

Carolyn V. said...

I love the !!!, but I know you are only supposed to use them in dialogue...and blogging! Whoo!

Solvang Sherrie said...

I find myself using a lot of exclamation points when I blog! But I only use one space between sentences :)

Deb@RGRamblings said...

I believe the two spaces are standard for the old manual type writers and it's one space for computer. Can't remember the reason...

Girl in My Own World said...

I say one space at the end of a sentence and I think that it is okay to use exclamation points. Maybe just not alot....

Dawn Simon said...

I learned two spaces back in high school, but have since been told today's norm is one.

(Those shoes look painful, though they're fun in a cartoon sort of way.)

Dominique said...

Those shoes look cool, kina like a pair of red toe shoes. I probably couldn't pull them off, but they're still awesome.

I don't really use exclamation points, because I think my dialogue tag would make it redundant. Maybe, if I didn't have a tag in there, I might use it to convey the emotion. Maybe.

Jade said...

I've never heard of the two spacing thing. The things you learn.

I als try and use exclamation points sparingly.

~Ellie Kings~ said...

When did the spacing change? Maybe I should go back to school, cause apparently things are changing faster than I can keep up. Ha! There's my exclamation point. I love 'em. Trying to stick to the rules, but which ones? :) I'll have to follow your advice and go with what feels best. Thanks for these posts Susan. xo

~Ellie Kings~ said...

PS... oooh ballet heels!!!!!!!! :)

Lily Robinson said...

Yeah, if the writing is good, there should be little need for an exclamation point! Although, I think sometimes it would be better to use one, rather than have unnecessary wordiness! LOL

I'm stuck in the old world when it comes to spaces. I was taught, and still use, the two spaces following a sentence. I like the break. Especially with these ancient eyeballs!

Tamika: said...

Ditto Wendy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But in my writing, I think less is better. I'm learning that the words pack the power not the punctuation.

Lesley said...

One of the hardest things for me, when I started working as a copywriter, was getting used to only one space between sentences. I still over-use exclamation points! Definitely! I often go back after finishing a project, and take most of them out.

WhisperingWriter said...

I do one space.

Those shoes hurt my feet just by looking at them.

Erica said...

Interesting quandary here. I would say use exclamation points sparingly in dialogue, in fact, in the whole draft. Let the actions show you what the speaker is feeling.

I'm a one spacer myself, I've heard that is what agents and editors are looking for now, but who knows, right? LOL

Those shoes are crazy! They look like hard ballet shoes :o)

Melanie's Randomness said...

English grammar was not my best subject. I use the exclamation point if it's in dialogue or what im writing is in first person narrative. I'm a one spacer too. hmmm....I should be taking notes from this. Thank you!

Stephanie Thornton said...

I use exclamations points like saffron. (I'm hungry, can you tell?) They are precious and should be used sparingly, but done correctly they can really pack a punch.

As for the spaces, I retaught myself to use two after typing all through high school. Now I think the standard is firmly one. I could probably reteach myself, but then it will probably just change again.

storyqueen said...

I hate exclamation points! And yet, I find them in my own writing....far too often. Which means, I think, that I hate to read them, but I love to write them.

They are kind of fun to write...almost as god as question marks.

(Love the dot-dot-dot, though I use it far too much.)

Danyelle said...

I'm an exclaimer in real life, but try to use them sparingly in my writing. They're like neon signs, and that jolts the reader.

One space. The two space rule was for typewriters, I believe. I had to break that habit too. Unfortunately, I didn't know about the search and replace function in Word at the time. >.<

Amy Tate said...

Yep, it's one. Like you I learned two, but the rules keep changing along with everything else. Every time I buy a new MLA guideline book, they've changed that too. I wonder who "they" are. I picture some big whig in a fancy office with nothing else to do.

Dara said...

I don't mind exclamation points IF they are used carefully. And very, very sparingly.

And I've always only spaced once after a sentence. Never have I done the two spaces thing, not even when I was first writing on an old electric typewriter.

Tara McClendon said...

I actually leave out exclamation points and then go back through and put them in where the dialogue or sentence needs one. And one space is the general rule now, which makes sense with digital formatting.

Kathy said...

Interesting. I've always been guilty of using exclamation points. I guess I'm a very emotional kinda girl.

When I learned to type in high school they taught us to leave two spaces after the period. But that was back in the caveman days.

Nancy said...

I think it looks neater with two spaces between sentences. As for exclamation points, I know the rule. That's why I love it that so many bloggers, even good writers use them in blogging. They are fun. They don't hurt anyone and for informal work, they just seem to add pizzaz!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I just hopped over from Julie's blog. I can't believe it took me so long to find the party over here! Look at all the fabulous shoes and all the faces of people I love to visit! Count me in. ;-)

Amber Lynae said...

I use two spaces because that is how I was taught. I have also read that if you use two spaces in your manuscript it is a lot easier to find and replace it to one spaces if an agent wants it to be one space instead of two. But changing from one space to two spaces would take much more time and effort.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Oh, I love using exclamation points in blogoshere because I don't in my stories.

According to the in manual of style, it's one space between sentences.

Diane J. said...

I'm guilty on exclamation points. I don't really care for them, but I use them when I'm cheering some on. The double spacing after periods is a hard habit to break. Most magazines (national and regional types) prefer single spaces because apparently double spacing messes up the layout. I'm not sure why, but that's what I've been reading in writer's guidelines for regional publications.

Kelly H-Y said...

I'm quite fond of the exclamation point! :-) And, I learned 2 spaces after a period, so I'm totally pre-programmed to that when I type!