Sunday, May 08, 2011

Interestingly........

Many Writers' Advice blogs say that using too many adverbs in your novels is a bad thing.

Conflictingly...

many others say that publishers like them.

Annoyingly...

I find myself spotting every adverb in anything I read at the moment.

Incredibly...

it appears that published writers use them
regularly
but
sparingly.

Amazingly...

some make a feature of them. Like this piece from Emotionally Weird by Kate Atkinson.

'It is,' Maisie said, eating her soup awkwardly.
We all chose a different adverb to sup with. Philippa consumed her soup hungrily, Mrs Macbeth decided on messily, Mrs McCue on recklessly, whereas I myself opted for cautiously. Lucy Lake opted for not at all.

7 comments:

joanne fox said...

Every time I notice one of my favourite writers has used an adverb I think 'Hah - there's one in the eye for those who make rules about what you can or can't do'. I just think you have to ask yourself whether your chosen adverb is the best way to describe what you mean. If it is, then fine! Regular but sparing is probably a good guideline.

MorningAJ said...

I think of them like seasoning in cooking. Without it the meal is bland, but overdo things and it's inedible.

snafu said...

I have to admit that I have never really noticed. If I enjoy a book, I go into the 'zone' and live it without any concious awareness of the process of translating words into what I am getting from the text.
I am only aware of sentence structure and grammar if it is bad enough to force me back to reality and I have to re-read a sentence to get some sense from it. So adverbs float will by with no concious recognition on my part.

snafu said...

float an will got reversed somehow, it should have read 'will float by' :{

MorningAJ said...

It wasn't until I started writing fiction in a big way that I noticed either. As a jobbing writer I've always noticed Bad English (in the same way that a jobbing carpenter will notice a bad dovetail) but these days I'm seeing structure and voice and all the rest of the things that make up a good novel (rather than a good bit of practical writing, which is my day job).

Don't worry about the typo - I'm having a bit of a day like that too. I keep shifting a couple of keys off on the keyboard and typing H when I mean F and such like.....

Sandra Davies said...

Fascinating post here Morning AJ AND comments. When I read for pleasure, even if it is someone I've read a dozen times before & I set out to read 'properly', noticing sentence structure etc. I invariably finish galloping through to simply read. Only where it is lumpy or bad do I notice 'bad' structure,and some phrases will see me throw a book across the room in profound irritation.
And since I tuned out all grammar lessons I do struggle to remember, without effort, all the various grammar words ...

Ellie said...

I think adverbs are fine in moderation. Sprinkling in a few here and there is fine, just don't overdo it!

Ellie Garratt