My friend Patty Wysong is starting up an A to Z meme and I thought, hey, great opportunity to look at least 26 of the (kazillion) things I’m trying to watch with my editorial eye. So, here’s my first contribution to the meme. These will be short and sweet.
A is for Adverb.
I will admit a fondness for these grammatical nuggets. They are candy to me, and like the real waist-growers and cavity-inducers, they need to be a “sometimes” food. When I first started writing, like many of you did, I adored them and used them in proliferation! I liked that movie very, very, very, very, very, very much! I love you so so so so so so so much, truly! And like our pals over at Schoolhouse Rock taught us, they’re good things to be enjoyed (in moderation). Hmm… that’s kind of punny, moderation, an adverb? *smiles*
Adverbs sneak into my writing like a creeping mold, and it means I have to be careful to pluck them out, or my critique partners will spill virtual red ink all over my perfectly (oops, there’s one now) good story.
This isn’t news to you. No, just like you know how you’re supposed to balance a diet, you know that your adverbs should be sparing and add a zest to your work. So I will stop there.
How do you find the adverbs in your manuscript?
Open up a search in your manuscript and enter “ly” in the search box. It’ll highlight about 90% of your MS (if you’re like me) and then you can go through them and delete most of them, rephrasing your sentence with a stronger active voice. This won’t catch all your adverbs (they don’t all end in -ly) but it’ll get a fair share of them.
Use this clever app which will also help find other weak writing wobbles. Hemingway
Happy writing (and editing)!
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