Re: Is the use of multiple question and/or exclaimation marks bad writing practice?

#4
Yeah, I agree with the others. I'm sure someone could make a counterargument by citing some famous published author who has done this before, but it's still a personal pet peeve of mine when I see it.

If the goal is to show emotion, this can usually be achieved with stronger verbs. For example.

"We have to go!!!!!!11!" -> He spun around and shouted at the top of his lungs, "We have to go!" 

"Are you serious??!?!?!?!" -> She flipped over the table and threw up her hands. "Are you serious?"

Re: Is the use of multiple question and/or exclaimation marks bad writing practice?

#7

splattenburgers Wrote: I'm talking about using more than one ? or ! sign at the end of character statements to empathize shock or surprise. Is this considered bad writing practice?

Example:

"What the heck? Vs What the heck???"

Example 2:

"A toaster can also be used as a time machine?!?"

Is this considered ok or is this bad writing?
It's bad and you should feel bad. 

Never do this. 
One punctuation. 
Interrobangs have their own caveats; personally I like to use a question mark and the follow the question with a descriptive, like so: 

"Are you saying you use a toaster in your time machine?" She blurted, her voice thick with incredulity and shock. 

It accomplishes the same thing as an interrobang, but it develops the scene better. 

Re: Is the use of multiple question and/or exclaimation marks bad writing practice?

#9
I think there are times when it is appropriate and acceptable to use it in a story, but there are also times when it isn't. I'm pretty sure it actually works quite well for comedy. It might seem to break a serious scene or a book that doesn't really joke around a lot, but it depends on what you write, and how you write it. As well as how you want it written. Personally, I don't mind seeing multiple punctuation when I read, and I use it occasionally(most times it's for a character who is overly dramatic in the first place, so the excessive use actually works well, and makes sense). Sometimes, if I did try to do it another way, it sounded awkward or even more excessive. It works best in a simplistic form of reading/writing. But I know nothing of how professional writers work, because I'm not one. Usually I just think that there's a difference between standards of writing. A lot of authors would claim and shout heresy, but if readers don't give a shit, you like it, and you enjoy writing it, it's probably fine.
There's always an issue of circumstance, despite there being actual standards.

Re: Is the use of multiple question and/or exclaimation marks bad writing practice?

#10
As the immortal Terry Pratchett mentioned, the fifth exclamation mark is the sign of insanity. 

Quote:'Multiple exclamation marks,' he went on, shaking his head, 'are a sure sign of a diseased mind.' -- in Eric

Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind. -- in Reaper Man

'And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head.'
  -- in Maskerade


But I have been guilty of double exclamations before, so I'm not the one to judge.  

Re: Is the use of multiple question and/or exclaimation marks bad writing practice?

#11


David Wrote: Yeah, I agree with the others. I'm sure someone could make a counterargument by citing some famous published author who has done this before, but it's still a personal pet peeve of mine when I see it.

If the goal is to show emotion, this can usually be achieved with stronger verbs. For example.

"We have to go!!!!!!11!" -> He spun around and shouted at the top of his lungs, "We have to go!" 

"Are you serious??!?!?!?!" -> She flipped over the table and threw up her hands. "Are you serious?"
Nestor1079 Wrote: One punctuation. 
Interrobangs have their own caveats; personally I like to use a question mark and the follow the question with a descriptive, like so: 

"Are you saying you use a toaster in your time machine?" She blurted, her voice thick with incredulity and shock. 

It accomplishes the same thing as an interrobang, but it develops the scene better.

I agree with you both, but I do personally like the interrobang. I'd definitely keep the descriptive text, but just add in the interrobang as well. Without it, I get this weird mental image of some livid dude that's just deadpanning a question. That's especially true when the description comes after what the character says. My eyes can normally catch the punctuation at the end of a sentence as I start reading it, which sets the general tone for that sentence in my head. Further description adds detail. 

If I just see a question mark though, I'll generally read it in a normal 'question' tone. If descriptive text after the fact makes it clear the character was yelling that disrupts the flow a bit for me. Thus me liking the interrobang. Not a huge deal though, and even less of one if the descriptive text precedes what the character is saying.

This:
"How could you do this to me?!" she screeched, hands tearing at her hair.

Reads better to me than this:
"How could you do this to me?" she screeched, hands tearing at her hair.  

Re: Is the use of multiple question and/or exclaimation marks bad writing practice?

#12
Apparently an unpopular opinion but I quite like them, I think they are useful, probably because I believe that textual writing tone is a real thing and has its uses.

This tom scott video kinda turned me on to the idea, and it's something I've been fiddling about with on and off.


For example:

"No," said Tom.

vs

"No." said Tom.

The latter is grammatically incorrect and grammar purists will hate it but that period use makes it feel heavier and more definite and wilful to me. 🤷‍♀️ As an online serial writer I guess I just don't feel the need to be quite as restricted and hard-line as a traditional author.

Well, even traditional authors break the rules when they want to, from that video winnie the pooh's author A.A Milne regularly used capital letters incorrectly.

I suspect that there is an author's version of this:

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
― Pablo Picasso