#4 – DIALOGUE – EXCLAMATIONS

RESTORE BY NUMBERS

I provide a passage from a master that has been vandalized (by me) at the numbered locations.  You restore the original. 

THE CRIME:

“You stupid bugger! (1)” Smith said to Johnson.  “You just dug your own grave! (2)”

Dillon tossed the Beretta over the wall into the Thames . . .

He turned around and found Jenny staring at him in a daze and he took her arm.  “Come on, love, let’s go home.”

As they walked away Smith called, “I’ll get you for this, Dillon! (3)”

“No you won’t! (4)” Dillon said.  “You’ll put it down to experience . . .”

They emerged from the gardens . . . Dillon said, “Are you all right?”

“My God! (5)” she said wonderingly (6).  “What kind of man are you, Sean Dillon, to do that?”

Clue:

Too many exclamation! points!!

Copy and paste the passage elsewhere in order to edit it.  Then check E.J.’s comments below.

A Tip:

Keep your exclamation points ­under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful. – Elmore Leonard

THE ORIGINAL (Jack Higgins in “Thunder Point”)

“You stupid bugger, (1)” Smith said to Johnson.  “You just dug your own grave. (2)”

Dillon tossed the Beretta over the wall into the Thames . . .

He turned around and found Jenny staring at him in a daze and he took her arm.  “Come on, love, let’s go home.”

As they walked away Smith called, “I’ll get you for this, Dillon. (3)”

“No you won’t, (4)” Dillon said.  “You’ll put it down to experience . . .”

They emerged from the gardens . . . Dillon said, “Are you all right?”

“My God! (5)” she said wonderingly (6).  “What kind of man are you, Sean Dillon, to do that?”

E.J.’s Comments:

Yes, delete the exclamation points.  If you keep it at (5), then delete the adverb at (6).  Or keep the adverb and delete the point.  This is a double whammy.  Even masters slip up sometimes.

Bonus Tip:  Note how speeches are punctuated by actions.

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About EJ Lavoie

Writer and independent publisher with website www.WhiskyJackPublishing.ca
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