BRIA Q: Adverb Slayer – where’s my t-shirt?

22 Jul

What do you do when your readers say they didn’t notice adverbs, but you do a count (see: HEALADOC) and find you have 952 adverbs?

 

Panic!

 

Of course, the majority are in dialogue, but still – that leaves a lot to be accounted for.

 So, what did I learn as I hunt and destroy the dreaded adverbs?

 My Hero is gentle with my heroine

My Heroine does everything ‘slowly’

People pause and ‘finally’ do stuff

Everyone gets studied ‘closely’

 So, repairs? A lot of them just needed to be deleted. Here’s how I did it:

1. Using Word’s find tool, I searched: “ly ” — “ly,” — “ly.”

2. Any of these outside dialogue got highlighted

3. On this read through, I pay special attention to where and how the pink is.

 I found out another interesting tidbit: I could go pages without any pink highlighted words and the BAM a bunch of them in a paragraph. I’m guessing it was a pacing description crutch.

For example:

“dabbed gently” became “dabbed” —- gently is pretty much stated.

Other places needed to be cleaned up, needed to be stronger or go bigger. Things that seem obvious on a read through instead of during the inital writing time when you’re just trying to get it all on the page.

Another example from when a nurse is noticing a cut on the heroine’s forehead:

BEFORE: The woman studied her more closely.

AFTER: The woman pushed Maura’s hair back where her braid had come undone.

Not only does the second one get rid of the adverb and weak “studied” verb, but it tells us more of what’s going on instead of relying on dialogue alone to say dude, what happened to your head to bloody you all up and stuff.

 And so, while I spend time I should be writing googling — T-shirts “Adverb Slayer” — and finding nothing, I know my count is nearly 1/5 of what it initially was outside of dialogue and think, Hey, what other newbie flub did I make???

 Stick around, I’ll let you know!

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2 Responses to “BRIA Q: Adverb Slayer – where’s my t-shirt?”

  1. John Thorngren July 31, 2008 at 6:15 pm #

    Thanks for the HEALaDOC plug. It’s my favorite program.
    John Thorngren
    HEALaDOC Author
    TEXAND Corporation

  2. briaq August 3, 2008 at 4:14 pm #

    Thanks John!

    I recommend this to everyone – It’s a wonderful tool.

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