Dropping the Adverbs

I’ve spent years writing my important life events in a journal, so when I started my fiction novel last year, that was how I typed my manuscript.

The problem with that is I don’t want to use the adverbs in my fiction the way I use them in my journal. Writing that “I ran very quickly to catch the train,” works for my journal, but could be boring in my novel. For my character, I would have to write something like, “My legs burned as I ran; the train almost left without me.” Not the best writing example, but you get the point.

It has taken me a long time to remember my novel is not a glorified journal entry. I’m grateful to my wonderful readers/reviewers and research books for teaching me what not to do when writing fiction.

What do you need to watch for?

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16 thoughts on “Dropping the Adverbs

  1. I have a fondness for “just” and “a lot,” and my characters’ eyebrows are always doing things, haha. You don’t notice these things when you’re writing, since it takes so much longer to write a chapter than it does to read it, but folks definitely notice when they’re reading!

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  2. I’m with Lindsay … “just”. I also have to watch for adverbs, so it looks like I’m with you as well. Oh, and I also have to watch for business/tech language that seeps in from my day job.

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  3. Right now I’m struggling with small transitions: opening doors, sitting, standing, looking, etc.
    I like the search feature for when I notice a tendance to overuse a word. Helps me a lot.

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  4. I have a terrible time with ‘that’ more than anything. I drive myself crazy remembering to leave it out all together or find something better to substitute. It’s another of those filler words that can mess up the flow and are ‘just totally’ unnecessary. LOL

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  5. Jennifer, you asked me where this search feature is.
    I have a macbook, and perhaps it’s not on pc, but it’s under the edit tab. You can find words, and then replace them one by one or all smimultaneously. It’s quite handy!!

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