Okay, I love Schoolhouse Rock, because, it well, uh . . . rocks! I bought the 30th Anniversary edition of the series a few years back. Sigh! Unfortunately, I was around when most (probably all) of the episodes first aired. That was back when Saturday morning cartoons - Scooby Doo, Looney Tunes - were actually good.
Anyhow, The Blood-Red Pencil did a post about the dreaded ADVERB last week, which made me start thinking . Hate it when that happens.
Why are ADVERBS such a no-no in writing? I mean, don't people laugh loudly and softly at times, and then sometimes just normally? Don't people tilt their head slightly to the right or left? Can't people stare intently at something? Don't people smile slightly at some things and widely at others?
OF COURSE THEY DO!
So, why can't we put those lovely (lolly, lolly, lolly get your) ADVERBS in our writing?
I have no clue. I just know it's one of those many rules out there and I seem to cringe every time I see a word ending with an -ly during the editing process.
Now, some examples, for what would a post about ADVERBS be without some examples? It would be dull and boring, and you know it!
He tilted his head slightly to the left. ~ ADVERB
He tilted his head a bit to the left. ~ no ADVERB
He smiled slightly. ~ ADVERB
His mouth turned up in a slight smile. ~ no ADVERB
He laughed loudly. ~ ADVERB
His laugh was loud. ~ no ADVERB
He walked swiftly down the hall. ~ ADVERB
He walked down the hall at a swift pace. ~ no ADVERB
Okay, so it's possible, for the most part to write without ADVERBS. The only problem I see is that the words increase when writing without ADVERBS. Now, if you're low on word count and need some excess words. GREAT. FANTASTIC. BRILLIANT. Oh, wait, I have the opposite problem in my current revision process. I have too many words and need to delete unnecessary words. CRAP! Yes, CRAP!
Now, if I wanted to break the dreaded ADVERB use rule, I could just let the characters laugh loudly, smile slightly, and walk swiftly. Great, no problem. Oh wait, someone, somewhere down the line, is going to make me eliminate those pesky ADVERBS. Big, dramatic, drama queen moment SIGH!
So, question for the moment: how do you handle ADVERBS in your writing? Do your characters just laugh and smile? Do they do it the same way every time? Do they never walk swiftly? Do they only walk or run? Do they tilt their heads a bit to the left and/or right, or do their heads tilt slightly to the left and right? Am I going too swiftly for you with all these questions? Sorry, couldn't resist.
Have a great day!