SPOILER for _Dragon_...what's up with Vlad, again?

Mon Feb 17 18:19:27 PST 2003

On Mon, 17 Feb 2003, Steven Brust wrote:

> At 05:58 PM 2/17/2003 -0800, Philip Hart wrote:
> >I don't in fact use exclamation points.
> I do, occasionally.  I'd miss them if they were gone.

Outside of dialogue?  Here's another example of why I'd like to have
your works accessible by search engine.

> But you're right,
> they're used way too much.  I had a huge argument with Ace because they
> would add exclamation marks to my cover quotes, and that would infuriate me.
> >
> >In any case, I've seen too many sentences on the net which couldn't be
> >spoken in the tone indicated by the attached emoticon to find them
> >tolerable.  Your mileage may vary, to quote the net.
> This argument, however, is specious.  Misuse of a tool by some does not
> show that the tool is useless.

I hesitate to argue with you about writing, and we're likely to veer into
the Saturday-night-special debate (or the somewhat different
why-does-the-US-have-chemical-weapons-if-Iraq-can't debate), but I think
you're wrong, at least in the case of style.  If enough illiterate people
misuse a device, it taints the proper use of the device for the literate.
I'll call it the AOL-effect if you don't mind me overgeneralizing.  A
simple example is the conversion of many Shakespeare quotes into cliches.

- Philip