Exclamation points , and methods to convey emotion in the character's voice

by Christian
(Montreal Quebec Canada)


My question is about conveying to the reader a character's changing emotions through his or her voice in a literal sense. How it raises or lowers intensity, how it may break or crack for example as a character gets scared or angry or shocked.

When I write dialogue I try to stay away from exclamation points because it makes me feel like the character is 5 years old, but sometimes I feel like I lack the Tools to convey distress or a feeling of panic or anger in my characters.

Have any ideas?

For reference, my genre would be Fantasy, and it would be more geared towards Young adults.

Thank you for taking the time.


Generally, you want to avoid too many exclamation marks, or any other method of conveying emotion through typography. (How much is too much? That's a matter of taste, but definitely not more than one exclamation mark per page.)

You generally have two methods of conveying emotion:

1. When the dialogue is really good, the emotion is obvious to the reader. Admittedly, this takes some skill to write.

2. You can show emotion by describing the action in the narration. A slip of the hand, a crack in the voice, a flush of a cheek, can indicate what emotion the speaker is feeling.

If you want more help with this, a good book on the subject is The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. The book covers 130 emotional states and lists the typical actions, gestures, sensations, and thought processes associated with them.

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Emotion cues
by: Christian

Thank you so much for this. It will definitely help me.

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