Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Insecure Writer’s Support Group - Adverbly!

Insecure Writers Support Group, brought to you by Alex Cavanaugh, is here today.  I've been editing some of my previous works and thought I'd get your perspective.  Are you a lover or hater of adverbs?  Have you ever watched School House Rock?  If so...Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs here!



To be honest, I'm not too insecure about this topic.  Still, we're expunging demons here with the IWSG post, right?  That said, I have  *clears throat*  misused adverbs before.  *Ducks for cover*  I know, I know.  Stop throwing sh** at me.  I'm not perfect and yes, I use "ly" adverbs.    

I know many writers aren't adverb fans, but kill me for saying this, I actually don't mind "ly" adverbs.  Dare I say, even in dialogue I don't mind them.  The best post I've read about using adverbs in dialogue was written by Nathan Bransford almost a year ago.  For me, I don't identify my mistakes until I'm in the editing phase.  And when I come across a "ly" word, I focus on whether or not I truly do need it in the sentence.  If not, then I do what Twain recommended...I kill it.  

How about you?  Do you like or hate adverbs?  Do you have a trick to keep your adverb use in check?

Mina B.

11 comments:

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

I think adverbs are fine in dialogue. If that's what the person would truly say then that should be fine. Same for cliches. After all we don't talk without using ly words. It's pretty hard to write realistic diaogue without the odd adverb. In narrative however it is a different matter. I try to quash them all!

mshatch said...

I'm with you Mina. I like adverbs, too, perhaps too much. But I'm pretty good about getting rid of them during revisions and only keeping the ones I really want. And I LOVE schoolhouse rock!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I like adverbs and will use 'ly' words on occasion. I just try to avoid the double adverbs. And when I don't, my critique partners point them out!

Allison said...

I think adverbs have their place, but they can be overused. Like you say, take them out if they aren't needed!

Allison (Geek Banter)

J.L. Campbell said...

Hey, Mina,
Hope you're well.

There are a few things I got slapped on the wrist for when I first joined a writing network, which means that I avoid some mistakes when I write. I tend to say, everything in moderation.

Elise Fallson said...

I don't mind ly adverbs once in a while, the problem is they are easily overused and then their impact on the verb is lost. I don't worry about them when I'm going through a 1st draft. But afterwards, I take a hard look at each one and make a decision whether or not to kill it. Most of the time, it gets snuffed out. :P

Tonja said...

Oh, thanks so much for planting that song in my head.

I am not a hater of adverbs. I think there's nothing wrong with overusing them in a draft. That's what editing's for. I do think there's a place for them.

Angela Brown said...

I don't hate adverbs so much as I try to use them in a sparse manner to keep from sounding too sing-songy with my writing.

But no...no hating on the adverbs.

Candilynn Fite said...

Adverbs have their role. I know what the experts say, but I've read some fabulous books (recently-ha! published) and adverbs are there. Everything in moderation as my grandmother used to say. I think that may be the key.

DonnaGalanti said...

WEll, I honestly never noticed adverbs until my publisher's editor hacked away at mine, now they are like eyesores everywhere I read. I am painfully aware of them when I write now and try to eliminate. Honestly, ignorance is bliss and I wish I could get it back!

Mark Murata said...

1) Avoid favorite adverbs, such as "probably." 2) Don't pile on. "Really" and "very" do not tend to strengthen sentences. 3) Use a more particular verb, e.g., instead of "He walked quickly to the door" use "He strode to the door."

That last one requires the most thought.