Attack of the Amazingly Awful Adverbs!

Weapon: Trident

Coffee: Fire Extreme Blend (Storm Trooper version)

Activity: Heating Up the Forge

One of the best pieces of writing advice that I’ve found on the internet is this. “Get rid of your -ly words”. At first I thought the person was crazy. Seriously? Carefully combing over my words to carelessly strike out those with -ly? That was said jokingly, right?

And yet…when I started doing it…I was amazed at how my sentences transformed. No “hesitantly” here, but scuffled footsteps taking time to move away. Getting rid of “carefully” to ink in something that was slow and steady.

After I started looking at all of the -ly that I had rewritten and mercilessly slaughtered without mercy on each prong of my gleaming with my trident, I realized that I had been…well…a bit lazy, since I’m going to be honest here. I mean, here I am, a writer since elementary school, and I hadn’t know about this piece of advice?  I was a little shocked. I knew to try and remove “very” from my vocabulary word bank, but…there are so many -ly words in the English language.

In color terms, I started feeling a sad type of blue (zaffre), which was then crossed over with a happy yellow (buttercup), and has produced an all-lights-are-go green (shamrock)*. My blind speed writing, when I know my destination and nothing else, has gotten better. A few slip past me every so often now, but I’ve got my trusty trident by my side to spear them.

So I’m going to pass on this advice. Examine your words, and when an -ly rears its head, spear it. Or put it into speech so that the character can say it and they look lazy, not you. Try it. Curse it. Highlight everything in hideous pink. Just make sure to hunt down you r-ly words and hammer them off of your papers.

*I have no idea if zaffre + buttercup actually equals the shade of shamrock – any painters out there that would like to let me know?

CoffeeQuills signing off – and when you spot an error, know that it is mine.

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