Monday, July 25, 2011

Writing Tidbit #2: Adverbs

Kate cautiously typed the first sentence. Perhaps I should tell people about adverbs, she thought ponderingly. Should I simply tell people absolutely not to use them, or to use them sparingly? Hmm... perhaps I should tell them why editors view them cringingly. 

Adverbs used excessively make a story read amateurishly. They are a very, very good example of "telling, not showing," which is something that writers should avoid religiously. While there are some places for adverbs to be used appropriately, those isolated instances should be chosen consciously. Too many will almost certainly result in agents and editors blithely passing on your submission.

Note from DB: Ugh--that was painful to write and proof. If you or some writer you know has a problem saying no to adverbs, consider joining AA (no, not that one). I'm sure you can stop overusing adverbs; the only question is... how? 

And you know this post wouldn't be complete without:


Disgruntled Bear (Kate Kaynak) said...

Suppose you're going nut gathering...

Lisa Rogers said...

LOL I love your writing tidbits and I promise to only shop sparingly at Lolly's.

I remember these "cartoons" from when I was a child--guess that kind of dates me huh?

Jennifer L. Armentrout said...

I love my adverbs tenderly. Truly, I do and not just sporadically. The 'ly' is just so glowingly, stunningly beautiful.

Maybe I can slowly, cautiously back up on repeatedly using them.

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

Disgruntled Bear (Kate Kaynak) said...

That's cruel, Jennifer. And Lisa, I remember them from my own, as well. Ask me how a bill becomes a law and I STILL want to break out in song.

Lou said...

*singing* I'm just a bill. Yes I'm only a bill. And I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill

Lisa Rogers said...

Hey I'd forgotten about that one :)

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