Daily Archives: September 20, 2010

A few things

I don’t disagree with Carol about this issue. I think adverbs and the word well (as in Well, I was talking to Cindy and  . . . ) mostly weaken a manuscript.


Here’s my thing, I think sometimes an adverb here or there can work well in a ms. if it’s done intentionally, for voice. These times are rare. Rare rare but they won’t sink your manuscript (in my humble opinion). In fact, if we’re being honest, a lot of adverbs won’t sink your manuscript as evidenced by popular books in all genres. But as a rule of thumb, I would say cut them out, cut them out, and see if you can show rather than tell how someone ate, how they cried, how they screamed. That’s how I feel.

On another note, one time Kyra told me my blog posts were sort of sad. Not like bad sad but depressed sad. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. It’s like when people read EVERYTHING IS FINE and say, wow, that is such a downer and I’m like what? I thought Mazzy was funny. I liked her and I sort of thought it was a happy book. So then I think, I may be twisted.

Yesterday I found out I am twisted. And I’m twisting my boys? Am I?

My three year old and I were in my bed reading books. I hugged him and said, I love you so much.

He said: I love you too Mom. And I will never ever ever ever ever ever run away, or get lost or get dead or get hit by a car.

I sat there. Stunned. What am I doing to my child? Granted, we have had two recent deaths in the family so he’s been to some viewings and he’s been asking me questions like why did Ron get dead, etc. And yes, he and baby brother have run away on a few occasions and i may have overreacted but is he scarred? Am I negative, watchout, don’tgethitbyacar or get dead mom?

I might be.

I don’t want to be.

I didn’t think I was.

Am I twisted?

I couldn’t stop thinking about it all night. I’ll admit, i was concerned that he worried about those things but I also couldn’t get the words, “i won’t get dead” from running around in there. I love my boys. I love them so much. I don’t want them to get dead. I want to protect them and hug them and keep them by me and make sure everything always goes perfect for them and I want them to be happy, and kind and eat vegetables (which I’ve failed at already) and not dump cheerios all over my house and then stomp on them and them spread them around and then draw circles in them.

How do we protect our kids?

And how do we not scare our kids?

What is our responsibility as adults?

As writers?

Am I twisted?

Are you twisted?

I think that’s all for now. Don’t use -ly words.


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i got up way too early (ly word) this morning but i am going back to bed now . . .

So, after all this complaining about the Damned Dystopian it seems that I am now one chapter away from being done. I need to go through this book that has caused me so darned much grief and do another draft. (And another and another and another, still.) However, I sent the first 185 pages to Steve (my agent!) and he told me nice things about what I had done so far. He also gave couple of suggestions that I need to incorporate the next time through the book (which will be today.) (I hope to be done tonight.) (I better be done tonight.) (It seems I have a talk with another editor this week.)  (For another book.) (Another book that I haven’t written.) (So, I must be done tonight.)

When I sent Steve the draft I told him I had marked a lot of ‘ly’ words in color and that those, I planned, were to be removed the next time through.

Yes, the hated (and I do mean HATED when I’m the reader) ‘ly’ word.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I mark all ‘ly’ words that can be exchanged with a stronger word.  And the more I learn about writing, the more I know I want as few ‘ly adverbs’ (as Mette Ivie Harrison calls them) in my writing. ‘Ly’ words are weak and for me, they scream “Look! Look at me and my poor word choice!” (Okay, this is what I think. This is not what other writers think. In fact, I know that Ann Dee doesn’t agree with me on this.)

That said, guess what? When I was determined to just this get DD written no matter what, I found out why writers put the adverb into their writing. It’s easy. I have more finallys, suddenlys and actuallys in this draft than I have had in ALL my other novels combined. When I write fiction, I ponder the best words as I’m going along. I couldn’t for the DD. It got to the point where I just had to get the book on the page. And so I did. No matter what.

Now, in the comfort of my little office (where I can see everything my naughty little children do) (not including Kyra who is many times listening to screamo crappo downstairs so low I can’t hear it), I can cut, cut, cut and replace all my weak writing. This will be a relief. I hope.

Do all ‘ly’ adverbs have to go? I’ll try to get rid of them, but the fact is, you sometimes need  them.

And here’s another interesting tidbit. My friend, librarian Pat Castelli, has told me over and over that most readers are blind to good, strong writing. Most readers, she thinks, don’t care how a sentence is put together. That’s why you can have a plot-driven novel that’s poorly written sell loads of copies.

But I do care. And so I must cut.

(Anyway–I was feeling a bit melodramatic there. I need to get a move on. I have work to do.)

BTW, I liked these two articles.




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