Welcome To Fake Paradise!

This is the personal writing blog for Joana Hill, creative writing major extraordinaire! Here you'll find the random ramblings and occasional writings of a girl obsessed with gay romance and the yaoi manga FAKE. You've been warned.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Joana's Tips on Writing: Adverbs

This came up as an issue on the NaNoWriMo forums, when talking about the new features of the EditMinion. Someone pointed out that it doesn't like adverbs (although that feature can be turned off if you like) and so they didn't like the program.

This seems to be a folly of new writers. I posted a brief response, which is as follows:

"Adverbs often make for weak or redundant writing. Like everything they have their place, but for instance, why would you say "He ran quickly" when "ran" already shows that someone is moving fast, and if they're going even faster than that, you could use a different verb, such as "He sprinted"? Verbs and adverbs aren't like nouns and adjectives. There's a verb for running really fast, but there isn't, for instance, a single word for "pink dress" so you use an adjective."

As I said, it has its place. It's completely, grammatically correct to use one, or two, or a million (but please don't use a million!). But in many instances, they're not needed. Another example would be using them in dialogue tags. For instance,

"I'm not going in there," he said loudly.

Or

"We'll get her out of here so we can get the party ready," she said conspiratorially.

Both instances could be written better. The first example would be completely fine as

"I'm not going in there!" he said.

And perhaps adding some action to show where the adverb tells.

The second example might be trickier. Depending on the person, they might just take out the adverb, as they would find it clear that the two characters are conspiring to set up a party without their friend knowing. Another option would be to completely chop off the dialogue tag and, like the optional part of the first example, use actions to show rather than tell.

I suppose that's all for now. I may come up with more writing tips, but for now, goodbye!

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