Over-Punctuation

Amateur writers tend to apply overzealous punctuation to their creative works, thinking their emotions translate equally into the minds of the readers. Unfortunately this is not the case. Avoid using more than one punctuation mark at a time unless grammar requires multiple: the ellipsis requires only three periods, not five and definitely not ten; excitement and shouted dialogue requires only one exclamation point; and a terribly intriguing question still warrants only one question mark. One problem, though, new writers tend to run into, is the shouted or exclaimed question. In this case, prefer either the exclamation point if the question is clearly understood or the question mark if the exclamation is understood or not as exclamatory as the writer may think: prefer Are you kidding me? or Are you kidding me! to Are you kidding me!? Notice the sense of exclamation and question remain in the first two examples, though I prefer the first approach, as good writing indicates an exclamation without relying on the exclamation point.