“Cut out all these exclamation points,” he said. “An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
|Photograph of F. Scott Fitzgerald c. 1921, appearing "The World's Work" (June 1921 issue). Photo in the public domain from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:F_Scott_Fitzgerald_1921.jpg|
F. Scott Fitzgerald, near the end of his life, began a love affair with Sheilah Graham. In her memoir “Beloved Infidel”, she describes the advice Fitzgerald gave to her. after reading one of her radio scripts:
“You don’t mind if I reword it here and there?” he asked. And though tired from his own writing at the studio, he sat down with a stubby pencil and a pack of cigarettes and painstakingly—and completely—rewrote my copy. He worked with the utmost concentration and as he worked he twisted the hair above his forehead so that a tuft stood up, as on a kewpie doll. It gave him a strangely boyish appearance. “Cut out all these exclamation points,” he said. “An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.” He underlined words I should emphasize, corrected my grammar.This is good advice for any writer. A well-structured sentence will emphasize all the content it needs to without shouting at people.