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.




Filed under Uncategorized

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

  1. Maybe I’ll go back to bed, too. Just reading about work and removing-ly words made me droopily-eyed.

    • CLW

      Well, I slept in.
      And guess what?
      Now my house is a wreck and I didn’t go for my morning constitutional . . .
      Plus, I had to eat a cookie for breakfast.

  2. Ah yes, no “-ly” words, no “was -ing,” and no tags, I think were some of your big hints, Carol. That and have plenty of strong action verbs.
    Good luck finishing off your book!

  3. I am one of those readers who usually doesn’t care how well a story is written. And it kind of scares me. ‘Cause I’ll read a book and not notice anything about how poorly it was written and then I’ll go online and read reviews and all these people are saying how bad the writing is and I think to myself…if I can’t even spot bad writing, then I must be a bad writer myself so why the heck am I trying to write a book?

    My only hope is that many of the books that are supposedly badly written (look two ly words in a row!) I often don’t really (another!) like. So I’ll just say that i recognize bad writing innately. (Sigh. And then do it myself.) Maybe that will make me feel better.

    For me, most of the time I read like most people watch TV–as an escape. I don’t necessarily want to think any deep thoughts, I just want to enjoy and be swept away into another world. So if the plot is good, I probably won’t notice if the writing itself is subpar.

    I do sometimes notice good writing. Which is funny, ’cause good writing will sometimes take me out of the story when I’m all “wow, this is written really well. I wish I could do that.” But bad writing, unless it’s really bad, I don’t usually notice. (Shouldn’t it be the other way around?)

    Although, the more I write and the more I edit my own work and the more I critique others’ work, the more I have this little editor in the back of my head that doesn’t quite turn off. It’s rather annoying. “I just want to enjoy the story. I don’t care if this part isn’t written very well. Stop figuring out ways to fix it.”
    Thankfully I’m still pretty good at smothering it.

  4. Kay Tee

    If you’re on the hunt for LY-adverbs and other weak words, you should check out the AutoCrit Editing Wizard. It’s smart enough to know that ‘early’ isn’t an LY-adverb 🙂 Plus it finds a bunch of other stuff that you’ll really want to cut 😦

  5. Every single time I write, I remember that you hate ‘ly’ words. So I take a long time to try to figure out how to word things different… errr… how to word things in a different way so that I can avoid using them.

    …then I make up for it by starting most sentences with pronouns. And ly words STILL get into my writing. AHHHHHH.

  6. Emily M.

    I notice adverbs when I read, and think they are lazy writing. Then when I write my writing is chock full of them too. Dang it all.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s