Spotlight On Writing
My spotlight on writing this week is all about adverbs. Currently, as I am working my way through editing The Price of Pandemonium I am waging war on adverbs. What? Those wonderfully, beautifully, amazingly useful words? Why would I want to get rid of them? They’re a little superfluous. Especially when you run into phrases such as “whispered quietly.” Not redundant in the slightest.
In particular, I am trying to cut down on ‘swifties’. These are adverbs that are inadvertently plugged in after dialogue.
Eg. “I can’t stop using adverbs!” Sarah said worriedly.
I’ve learned it is something writers do when they’re not confident the reader will be able to imagine the tone of what someone’s saying. I find these types of mistakes frequently in my writing from when I was younger. I call them my ‘lack of confidence mistakes’. They’re also evident with words like ‘slightly’ or ‘a little’. She looked slightly annoyed. He seemed a little perplexed. Commit. Don’t be afraid. And always, always…
BEWARE THE ADVERBS.
It is winter in Calgary. On Tuesday we had about twenty centimetres of snowfall. I generally like the snow, with the exception of shovelling it. Days like that I feel quite jealous of my family in New Zealand who have been melting into puddles on hot, sunny days.
Asides from shovelling snow, my husband and I have stumbled onto a new TV show to keep us entertained in the evenings. I recommend watching the first season of ‘The Terror’. Highly dramatized, it is a fictional adaptation of the real life event of England’s attempt to find the Northwest Passage. The two ships ‘Terror’ and ‘Erebus’ became locked in arctic ice in their attempt to find the passage, and the entire crews were killed. What happened to them remained a mystery until the ships were discovered in 2014. Michael Palin has written a more factual account of this in his book ‘Erebus’.
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