Monthly Archives: September 2016

exclamation-points

How Many Exclamation Points Can Dance on the Page of a Novel?

Exclamation Points.
You know, EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!
When you need to shout, scream, yell, and LOUDTALK!

How many should you have in your novel? 100? 200? 400? How about 649?

Jon shares an uneasy moment while editing the novel he’s working on, Loom, when he began to think, Hey how many exclamation points have I used here?

Juliet and Jon discuss how many exclamations are too many through the lens of several others novels. They discuss when to use them and when they can be edited out.

Novels mentioned in the show:

Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl

Andy Weir’s The Martian

Sarah Dessen’s Saint Anything

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

Examples in the Podcast from Jon Armstrong’s upcoming (and when he says upcoming, he means years from now):

Before:
“Ken!” I cried. “Shut up! Can you hear me? Ken? Please listen.”

After:
“Ken,” I cried. “Shut up. Can you hear me, Ken? Please listen.”

Another Example:

Before:
“Stop it! Shut up!” Shouting made pain explode through me.

Fixed:
“Stop it. Shut up.” Shouting made pain explode through me.

Rethought:
“Stop it. Shut up!” Shouting made pain explode through me.

 

northkoreangenerals

Write What You Know. But What Do I Know?

Writing teachers everywhere say, “Write what you know.”
Forget if it’s good advice—What do I even know?

In this show, the Js (writer Jon Armstrong and editor Juliet Ulman) talk about some examples of novels where maybe… just maybe the author didn’t know what he was writing about. How do we know what we know? And do we know anything?

In the show, Jon expressed concern about Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son. (Amazon link)

A tweet from Paul Gilmartin was mentioned. (He is the host of The Mental Health Happy Hour):

Sara Zarr’s A Writer’s Life podcast was mentioned. Author Coe Booth offered advice to white authors writing characters of color.
A quote from Alain de Botton’s The Course of Love: (Amazon link)
“Look at you,” she says, “you big cross numpty, you.”