The best writing advice I’ve ever heard

I love writing. I love the English language and all that comes with it, the nuances, the vagaries, the ridiculous conventions. I’ve spent years studying it, have qualifications related to it and love the fact that I will never master it; it’s a brilliant inevitability.

Now first I have to give props for this to Ken Early, and Irish sports writer working for The Irish Times and Second Captains Media. They do a sensational sports podcast for anyone interested, click here.

This piece of advice relates to that overused but under appreciated friend the exclamation mark.

For the uninitiated, it looks like this !

It’s very simple. Ken says, and I paraphrase here, that the exclamation mark is the grammatical equivalent of laughing at your own joke. It sets you apart as a bit sad and desperate to make clear that what you have written is pants-splitting hilarious.

I now cannot look at anything in writing without this thought running through my head every time I see an exclamation mark.

He further posits that what you are saying should be funny enough to make your reader laugh without you having to point a giant novelty foam finger at it whilst honking your red clown’s nose.

Cheers, Ken. For changing how I write forever.


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