Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Writing Wednesday: The thing about adverbs...
She said one of her biggest pet peeves in editing is ADVERBS. And that at conference panels, she's heard other editors and publishers describe them as "the tool of lazy writers."
I mean, I guess I have to agree. Adverbs are there to modify or intensify verbs, so a writer should work harder to find the strongest verb they can for a situation. A character shouldn't just run quickly if they could dash. They shouldn't just talk loudly if they could yell.
And yes. I've been dinged by this editor for using adverbs myself. I've also dinged other writers I work with, both as a critique partner and as a paid editor, insisting they make stronger word choices too.
I don't think it's "lazy" so much as not having enough practice. Writing is like anything else that requires time and effort. The more you work at it, the stronger your word choices will be. Finding more powerful words takes skill, but to call adverbs "lazy" belittles that skill.
What do you think? Am I splitting hairs, since I ultimately agree that stronger verbs make more satisfying reading? Someone talk me down from this soapbox...