Monday, April 28, 2014
Blogging from #AtoZChallenge - eXclamation points and eXcalibur
This was the first letter I really had to scramble to find a topic. My husband thought I should discuss the use of expletives, but I don't have an opinion there - do what works for you!
I could tell you to put a hyphen in x-ray, but heck, Word will fix that for you.
So, exclamation points it is. I am a naturally upbeat person. I can almost see the exclamation points when I talk (especially about horses and endurance), so I tend to write the same way. My first, horrible attempt at writing a book was full of, in addition to the oft maligned passive voice, exclamation points. I probably deleted hundreds. I still have to delete them from my emails, Facebook and Twitter posts, and even blog posts.
The point (!) is that you probably shouldn't sprinkle too many through your manuscript. And never, ever put more than one at a time. Make sure they're necessary. And when you decide to use one, don't make the mistake of adding "...!" he exclaimed. Or shouted or screeched. Of course you might be able to avoid the exclamation with "he exclaimed." But some people will tell you to avoid all dialogue tags except he said/she said. I don't quite agree with this, especially with MG and YA, but I do strive to choose language so it's obvious the speaker is excited, and if identifying the speaker is necessary, then use a motion.
I hope that's enough of grammar X. I'm done! Truly!! Did you have a hard time with X? Drop me a comment below and leave a link back to your blog and I'll be sure to visit and comment.
My X horse wasn't as hard, but she's still a bit of a stretch. Excalibur is an arab/quarter mare (doesn't seem like a female name right?) who was abandoned at our barn when her owner lost his business. Her original name was Callie. But the boy who bought her from me loved all things King Arthur and decided Excalibur was close enough to Callie.
Well, she attacked the trail with a singular mind of arriving to her destination first, so maybe it fit.
The day I delivered her to her new owners, they asked my husband to trim their other horse's feet. We'd already turned Callie out to her new pasture and focused on the other mare (who had initially told Callie she wasn't welcome.)
Apparently Callie took that lack of welcome to heart and left. She found some barely loose fence wires, stepped and crawled through, then climbed a 300 foot hill. When we noticed, we had to drive the long way around because of a locked gate, but she was gone. This was a huge area with only two houses and grazing cattle over a couple thousand acres.
I went home and grabbed another horse to search for her. No luck. Before we left for the night, we found the cattle tank empty, so left a few buckets of water around. Early the next morning, a neighbor found her with his ATV and brought her back to her new home (with a newly tightened fence) without any evidence of spending the night alone. This time she stayed.