Monday, June 8, 2015

Smileys and Exclamation Points

Flickr Credit: duncan c
I use exclamation points kind of a lot. Maybe not in my posts, because even though I’m talking to you, it’s not really a conversation. If you spend any amount of time in the comments, however, you will notice that I use them liberally (and by liberally I mean frequently, not like, ten in a row, because the rule is one exclamation point at a time or else).

You’ll also notice I use smileys a lot. :D and XD are my favorites, but :) and :( and 8D tend to show up a lot as well.

And, I believe it was Alyssa who pointed out to me when reviewing my novel for me, I like to use ALL CAPS and punctuate. deliberately. in my dialogue and narration to emphasize what I’m saying, and it doesn’t really work.

In essence, I tend to write the way I speak and think, which you’re witnessing even as you read this. Up in the first paragraph I say, “not like, ten in a row” which could have easily been written as “not ten in a row” and conveyed the same idea—minus the fact that I would not have been in that sentence. Well, maybe.

Here’s the thing.

My social life has more or less existed solely as the progeny of the Internet since about sixth grade. My best friend and I live within hiking distance, so she has been my staple to real life in that time frame (unless she’s at college, in which case hiking would suck). However, my closest friends tend to be in other states, or even countries. For quite a while, I was the admin of a forum where we all chatted about anything and everything—in our first summer we posted 35,474 times, surpassing the post count of every other forum using that host!

Posting 35,474 times, you’ll realize that we talked. A lot. Whether we used an IRC chatroom or simply used the forum, we talked and talked and talked. And the thing is, as fun as it is to have friends who live all around the world, when you’re using text to talk, you aren’t going to have the same range of communication that your voice does. So we compensated. ALL CAPS and font size and exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!! and  :D >) >:) all conveyed what we couldn’t with our faces and mouths.

We thereby came up with our own styles. I, almighty HeroineHiding, was the safety and grammar police, and heaven help you if you didn’t capitalize my H’s. Klaus-Lucian became known for his elegance and mystique. Lucian garnered friendships out the wazoo and flew the flag of attitude over her head. GNOletsgo1 had her musicals, kimchikid his humor, Fanta her wit, Stella her enthusiasm, BookWorm_39 her friendship and kindness. And there are like, fourteen more people I’m forgetting, but the point nonetheless remains: we’re friends because we could communicate.

And sure, now we have Skype and we can meet each other in real life, but the methodology is still a big part of me.

It’s why I write my blog posts the way I think and talk—this is my voice. It’s the voice I yell! with when I’m screaming with my best friends, the voice I whisper with when I’m ashamed. It’s the voice I use to hurt, to help, to share, to save. MY FANGIRLING VOICE. My angry voice.

It’s just how I talk.

It doesn’t fly in novels. And I clean it up when I’m writing blog posts. Again, this isn’t exactly conversation. But, I’m still here, still writing, still using that voice.


Where did your voice come from? Who helped nurture it. Why do you use it? And, what’s your favorite part about the way you speak on the Internet?

(P.S. To all the AIers—thanks for the voice and the friendship. That awkward moment when the person above you died of the associated word game. ;) )


  1. I did keep mentioning your voice was very "Heathery", right? I mean, that's totally awesome, because you're awesome and having a voice is awesome, but sometimes it just gets a little trippy and clunky and needs some cleaning up, like you say. But BE HEATHER. I read your stuff for more Heather, you know? XD

    (That made no sense and I know it, but ... well. That's me.)

    1. Yeah, especially for a novel I think it is way too clunky to be communicative. Or a blog post, for that matter. XD Still, I'm glad you enjoy the Heather in my voice. I like it being there. Thanks, Alyssa!

  2. I think one of the biggest reasons I love the internet so much is because if I talked REALLY LOUD or made weird faces all the time, or channelled all my enthusiasm into everything I said in real life, I would just get labeled as the biggest dork ever (seriously though, it gets really bad when I start making the O.O face in real life conversations). Anyway, the internet is awesome.

    1. XD That's true enough. On the Internet you can show a little bit more passion in your writing than you could with your face, lol. The internet makes a free place for us all to share our love of writing and sharing our feelings!

  3. It would be interesting to see a book written in Internet voice actually. Weirder things have certainly been tried in the past. And it could turn out pretty cool actually. And as regards your voice, I envy you a little bit for having such a strong voice through your writing. It's a real gift to know how your voice works and to be able to modify it for situations. Your voice shows up strongly through your blog especially. I'm going to have to take some tips from you I think. My voice is very shy and retiring, doesn't like to come out in the spotlight!

    1. I know there are books written in Internet chat form, but I'd actually love to write a book with Internet voice in mind. And don't envy me—it's been six years to master this kind of weirdness in how I talk. Your shy and retiring voice is very professional, though—it makes your blog easy and concise to read!

  4. I love this post. :) Because it's so true. Conversational typing and novel writing do not mix whatsoever. After all, you don't put gifs in a novel.

    In comments and on my blog, I'm very casual. I throw smileys. I use all caps, because the reader can't hear me shouting my excitement/see me flailing. So there are other ways I compensate. I do it with texting too.

    But my novels are vastly different from my blogposts. On my blog, I pretend like I'm talking to you. With novel writing, I'm in the character's head, and I try to approach writing with a level of professionalism (as much as my characters will allow that is. . .). All caps are a definite no. Passive voice, when found, is moaned over (*cough*). Exclamation marks are an endangered species, and what are parenthesis?

    1. I wish you could put GIFs in novels sometimes, but on second thought that would probably ruin the art of writing. GIFs are better suited to blog posts, for sure.

      I understand those very much! I don't text, but one-on-one conversations seem to give a leeway towards being a little more individual and such with your writing.

      I find it hard to get into my characters' heads, so I don't always have that freedom. I am the least professional person you're going to meet, which means caps and swearing and passive voice and everything come out all the more when I'm writing. It's editing when I need to clean up my act, and it is hard.


Check it out, comments and stuff. I love to hear from readers, and I always respond to commenters! Here's the fun part—if you leave a link to your blog I'll show up and comment back. I have just one rule down here: Don't Be a Problem. This spans the entire umbrella of rudeness and crudeness, so I reiterate: Don't Be a Problem. Thanks for stopping by!