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Writing / Craft > Word usage

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message 1: by Brian (new)

Brian Guthrie (nidfar) | 19 comments As I write, I endeavor to avoid adverbs. The reason is because we don't think in adverbial terms. It is jarring to the brain and often is used to just tell the reader something as opposed to showing them. In dialogue, you can get away with it more, but in exposition it is almost always superfluous.

The most egregious adverb for me is seemingly, especially in the construct "seemingly as if by". It's, at its core, nothing more than a wordier version of "like". If I find myself writing into a corner like that, I go back and rewrite what I have to to get around it.


message 2: by Elan (new)

Elan (bonbonelan) It may sound odd, but I've found that my experience as a corporate marketing writer has been invaluable in improving my fiction.

The results marketing writers aspire to, like clean sentences, low grade level (highly-readable material), and evocative simplicity make for some great fast-paced fiction. Not everyone wants to "dumb down" their work in this way, and it's certainly not appropriate for every type of book, but it can really work in the right setting.

A tool I use to make sure that my writing is simple (for marketing, specifically, but it'd work fine for fiction) is HemingwayApp: http://www.hemingwayapp.com

HemingwayApp highlights passages and words that can be simplified, and shows you the reading level of what you're working on in real time (calculated by the Flesch-Kincaid model, I think).

Check it out! It may help you.


message 3: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Gerard Berg Interesting article. I try to avoid articles that tell me something so specific is bad or good. I try not to use said too often. And if I can, I don't use anything, I add an action to the dialogue.
"You're really going to eat that?" Belinda turned toward her, a skeptical arch to her brow.
But it depends on the scene. Same with adverbs... Because the word not only chooses the level of meaning, it also controls the pacing. And if I just had a longer spout of words, I like to follow up with something short and quick, and to the point, which sometimes an adverb is the best solution. Let's say I was just describing a few things in great detail as a character examines a room she has just entered, I don't then follow that with a long explanation of her emotion, I say it quick and easy, - She hesitantly reached for the door handle... I can't say she was hesitant to reach for the handle, because that tells me she hasn't done it yet... I want you to see her action, but how it is too... That's why I don't like such specific rules, they fill my head with self doubt too much.


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