10 May 2011

AA: Not what you think it is.

Good day, peeps.

I have a confession to make.

I have a problem. A big problem.

I...am an adverbaholic.

It's true! It's true and heartbreaking. I'm attempting to avoid use of adverbs, but...but it's so hard!

However, I've learned a valuable lesson. You see, 99% of adverbs are cop-outs. Missed opportunities. Brain farts.

Granted, every action does not need to be described in scathing detail. That's partly why we have adverbs. They're decent modifiers.

The problem is that we're writers. We write things. We create mental pictures. If readers wanted an overload of adverbs, they'd listen to any valley girl conversation, "Like totally for realz, totally, like omgah, totally." Or they'd just have conversations with me because, as I stated, I'm an addict. In every day conversation, I use way too many adverbs. Useless adverbs.

They clutter our prose. They steal moments when we could:

  • Add characterization
  • Add depth to a scene
  • Add emotional connection
  • Add description to a character/setting
And worst of all? Like passive voice, overuse of adverbs weakens our writing.

As scribes and revelers in the written word, every word we put to paper counts. So why clutter our otherwise awesome manuscripts/short stories/poems/blog posts with unnecessary adverbs? Why, I ask you! WHY????????????


Elaine AM Smith said...

Love the passion in the post :) This is a great list of reasons why removing adverbs will strengthen the writing.

lexcade said...

Thank you! I came to this realization after discovering I used the word "only" 228 times in Duality. TWO HUNDRED TWENTY EIGHT. Also determined that adverbs make up about 1% of my manuscript. That would be fine, except that every word counts, so why waste valuable space on "only"?

Lisa Fox said...

I LOVE that button. I think might need one of my own! :)