The purpose of the exclamation mark:
An exclamation mark is a punctuation mark, and like the full stop (or period), it marks the end of a sentence. A sentence ending in an exclamation mark is either for exclamation (“Wow!”), to make a command (“Stop!”), or intended to show astonishment in a way (“They were the footprints of a gigantic hound!”). Often used in fiction writing in particular to add to the emotion of the words and/or the volume of them too.
In writing fiction:
I have been under the impression that in writing to use the exclamation mark as a form of punctuation sparingly. Which is why it has me confused when I start to see them used more in the writing I see online. It's almost as confusing as some writer's need to randomly use all caps for one word in a sentence. While I don't remember every single thing I've written over the past 7 years, I am certain that most of the work doesn't have very many uses of the exclamation mark. But I started to wonder if maybe it was just me.
For certain, there only needs to be one. The whole, "omg" with 20 exclamation marks might work for random posts on line or something (even annoying then) but if wanting to publish a story, try for one and some sort of way to show what is going on beyond using excessive punctuation.
There is a time and place for the exclamation mark but it's not something to fall on in lieu of showing the emotion, tension, inflection or whatever the punctuation would have been used to achieve. There are other options. So, I think I will stick with only using it on occasion.
A few sites that discuss this:
What do you think?
Are you for the exclamation mark or against using it often?