Tag Archives: Writing

Exclamation Point Inflation

1 Jun
A yellow exclamation mark

Image via Wikipedia

Marcus has long modeled his writing after that of Hemingway–laconic, direct, few adverbs and adjectives.  Of course, Ernest had a penchant for excessively masculine topics, a trait that Woody Allen spoofs brilliantly in the wonderful Midnight in Paris.  Marcus doesn’t model himself after Hemingway in that regard, but does like his approach to writing. One thing you hardly ever see with Hemingway is an exclamation point.

Pi Wen’s writing is effusive, warm, and exclamatory. Sometimes there are ALL CAPS, and the exclamation points flow forth. Hemingway it’s not, but that is OK.

Lately Marcus has discovered an influx of exclamation points in his own writing–sometimes even a double exclamation!! Ernest is recoiling in horror, but hopefully Pi Wen likes the trend.  Warm, effusive writing has its place.

(Yes indeed, Pi Wen likes Marcus’s new trend. And now about her effusive, warm writing…)

Pi Wen’s writings are mainly influenced by Chinese authors: 琼瑶, 金庸林语堂徐志摩李白刘墉龙应台; maybe it is cultural, or maybe it’s just a personal preference that Pi Wen loves these authors. These authors are sharp in their analysis, but they write warmly (抒情) and vividly. For example, in 金庸’s epic stories, he described the martial art fighting scenes in vivid imagery and with great gusto. 李白 and 徐志摩 were both famous romantic poets, 李白 was a famous poet in the Tang Dynasty while 徐志摩 rose to fame in the 20th century. No matter, their works have influenced many followers spanning several centuries.

In graduate school, Pi Wen learned to write elaboratively. It helped that her research focus was on categorization (e.g., works by Eleanor Rosch, Larry Barsalou). Later, her work based on George Lakoff‘s Women, fire, and dangerous things heightened her awareness of using metaphors in writing. However, at work Pi Wen needs to write concisely, just like Marcus. TO.THE.POINT. Period.

In fact, these days Pi Wen often writes in bullet points! But she likes it as it’s easier to get the main points across without too many words. And her heart skips a beat if she can add cool designs or photos to the PowerPoint presentation.

Meanwhile, Marcus counts every day that he doesn’t see a PowerPoint presentation as a great blessing!! See, there go those exclamation points again.

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