Seedlings by Aaron Paul Lazar

What They Say

“You do not have to explain every single drop of water contained in a rain barrel. You have to explain one drop—H2O. The reader will get it.”
—George Singleton


Aaron Paul Lazar

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. A bestselling Kindle author of 22 books, including three addictive mystery series, writing books, and a new love story, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming release, UNDER THE ICE. Aaron has won over 18 book awards for his novels and finds writing to be his form of "cheap therapy." Feel free to connect with him on Facebook or his website; he loves to connect with readers.


SEMI-FINALIST Kindle Book Review Awards 2015
FINALIST Readers Favorites Awards 2013
SEMI-FINALIST Kindle Book Review Awards 2013, Mystery Category
HONORABLE MENTION Eric Hoffer 2013
GRAND PRIZE * FINALIST 2013 EPIC Book Awards  * FINALIST 2012 FOREWORD BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARDS * Finalist DaVinci Eye Cover Award 2013 * WINNER 2011 EPIC Book Awards, BEST Paranormal * FINALIST 2011 FOREWORD BOOK AWARDS * WINNER 2011 Eric Hoffer BEST Book, COMMERCIAL FICTION *Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Top 10 Reads for 2012 * 2X FINALIST Global eBook Awards 2011 * Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Award – 2nd place 2011* Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Top 10 Books of 2012 * Winner of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s 9th Annual Noble (Not Nobel!) Prize for Literature 2011 * Finalist Allbooks Editor’s Choice Awards 2011 * Preditors&Editors Top 10 Finalist  * Yolanda Renée's Top Ten Books 2008MYSHELF Top Ten Reads 2008  * Writer’s Digest Top 101 Website Award 2009-2012

Contact Aaron at aaron(dot)lazar(at)yahoo.com.

 

Books by multi-award winning, Kindle bestselling author, Aaron Lazar:

LEGARDE MYSTERIES

LeGarde Mysteries

DOUBLE FORTÉ (print, eBook, audio book)
UPSTAGED (print, eBook, audio book)  
MAZURKA (print, eBook, audio book)
FIRESONG (print, eBook, audio book)
TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON (print, eBook, audio book)
DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (print, eBook, audio book)
THE LIARS’ GALLERY (print, eBook, audio book)
SPIRIT ME AWAY (print, eBook, audio book)
UNDER THE ICE: COUNTERPOINT (coming soon 2015)
LADY BLUES: forget-me-not (print, eBook, audio book)
VOODOO SUMMER ( print, eBook, audio book)

GREEN MARBLE MYSTERIES

Green Marble Mysteries

The Disappearance of Billy Moore (formerly Healey's Cave) (print, eBook, audio book)
TERROR COMES KNOCKING (print, eBook, audio book)
FOR KEEPS (print, eBook, audio book)

TALL PINES MYSTERIES

Tall Pines Mysteries Series

FOR THE BIRDS (print, eBook, audio book)
ESSENTIALLY YOURS (print, eBook, audio book)
SANCTUARY (print, eBook, audio book)
BETRAYAL (print, eBook, audio book)

PAINES CREEK BEACH SERIES

Paines Creek Beach Series

THE SEACREST (print, eBook, and audio book)
THE SEACROFT (print, eBook, audio book)
THE SEADOG (print, eBook, audio book)

 

 

Seedlings
by Aaron Paul Lazar, author of the LeGarde Mystery Series.

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Illustration © 2006 GinELF

April 2020

"Using Exclamation Points in Your Novel!!!" Excerpt from Write Like the Wind volume 1 by Aaron Paul Lazar. Re-printed by permission of the author. Copyright © 2020 Aaron Paul Lazar. All rights reserved.

Write Like the Wind volume 2 by Aaron Paul Lazar

Using Exclamation Points in Your Novel!!!

One of the first errors I came upon as a novice writer had to do with the use of exclamation points. After penning my first novel, and fortunately, before publication, I was taught by a writing guru that exclamation points don’t belong in one’s narratives. Period.

Here’s an example of very amateurish writing where exclamation points abound. This is not okay! (I just had to put an exclamation point here to make you smile.) It’s actually very similar to several newbie manuscripts I was asked to critique.

She walked into the crystal cave and cried out. In front of her stood a giant elf! He was huge! And his eyes burned with fire!

She turned and ran as fast as her legs would carry her, and almost fell!

All right, now that you are cringing (I hope), I will stop. A few years ago, I actually edited a manuscript where there were multiple examples like this on every, single page, all throughout the book. Yup. But my young authors learned, just like we all did, and she dutifully removed those offensive punctuation marks.

Of course, there’s a difference when you use exclamation points in narrative versus dialogue. Although this example has far too many exclamation points, it’s not quite as awful as adding them in your narrative as I showed above.

Shelby held a silver chain to the light. A heart-shaped crystal dangled below, winking in the winter sunlight. “Look what Uncle Sig bought me!” she said.

Camille jumped up to examine the necklace and Johnny roared into the room, “flying” his rubbery metallic green dragon toward me.

“My dragon flies!” he yelled, zooming it up and down in the air and finally landing it on my shoulder.

“Wow. What’s his name?” I peered down at the realistic reptile perching on me.

“I dunno,” he said. “How ‘bout…Claws?”

I picked up the squishy critter and looked at him. He did have very distinctive claws and a rubbery mouth that opened when you pressed on the skull. “Claws is a good name, buddy. I like it.”

“Can he come to dinner with us? He’s really hungry!”

Camille fastened the necklace around Shelby’s neck.

I handed Claws back to Johnny. “Sure he can. Do you have to use the bathroom before we go?”

“Yes!” he squealed, holding two hands in front of himself and dancing in place. “I do!”

Okay, so the little boy and his sister in the above segment are really, really excited. And it’s probably okay to sparingly use exclamation points in their dialog. In the yellow highlighted areas above, (such as those with the dialog tags), “yelled” and “squealed,” are sufficiently clear to let the reader know the boy is being very loud. I would remove the exclamation marks from those segments, at minimum. Frankly, I think one or two per chapter is more than enough. You can show excitement in many other ways, especially by using action beats.

For example, you might say, “He shrieked and ran in circles, arms flapping like an airborne chicken.”

Remember, as a general rule, avoid exclamation points in narrative, and use them very sparingly in dialog. You don’t want to get the same highbrow lecture I did when I was a newbie, do you?

Now, how do you handle someone shouting in your novel? How about when it’s an inner thought?

What if your character has just stumbled upon the dead body of the one he loves?

(And you should know, all inner thoughts are generally shown in italics and written in the present tense, except where you use, “he thought,” as a tag.)

I have seen at least three methods to show this:

1. No! No! No!

2. NO. NO. NO.

3. “No, no, no!” he thought.

Some folks use upper case to stand in for exclamation points. I’ve used that approach a few times in my own work. What do you think?

If you think you’ve used too many exclamation points in your novel, do a search on “!” and see if you can replace them with a well-chosen verb or other action beats.

Aaron Paul Lazar
www.lazarbooks.com


Write Like the Wind cover artwork

WRITING ADVICE: 

WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1, 2, 3  (audio books)

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, thrillers, love stories, and writing guides, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming releases, UNDER THE ICE (2015) and DEVIL’S CREEK (2015). Aaron has won over 18 book awards for his novels and finds writing to be his form of "cheap therapy." Feel free to connect with him on Facebook or his website; he loves to connect with readers!

 

 

Bittersweet Hollow series by Aaron Paul Lazar

BITTERSWEET HOLLOW Romantic Suspense Series

DEVIL’S LAKE (print, eBook, and audio book)
DEVIL’S CREEK (print, eBook, and audio book)
DEVILS SPRING (print, eBook, and audio book)

"Loved this book! DEVIL'S LAKE is a riveting read, and It could have been ripped from today's headlines." Joan Hall Hovey, Canada's best selling, award-winning Mistress of Suspense.
- 2015 Finalist Readers Favorites Awards
- 2015 Semi-finalist Kindle Book Review Awards