Monday, July 25, 2011

Verbs Rule, Adverbs Drool?

I was planning to write this post about the importance of Verbs already. But comments on one of my writer's loops helped me to get to it quicker.

One of the 'rules' of modern writing is to avoid adverbs. But I like what one writer says about writing rules or laws. They really are more like suggestions than hard and fast rules. Kind of like the Pirate Code from the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Adverbs are not expendable and a well placed adverb is worth its weight in gold.

But all writers need to remember that verbs are where the action is, literally.

So when this is discussed, people get real defensive and bring up all the great writers of old who used lots of adverbs. This is completely understandable. Writers are nothing if they are not creative. And all creative people hate to be boxed in. So that's why I think, instead of saying that avoiding adverbs is a 'rule', it would be better to look at it as a suggestion for streamlining a modern story for smoothness and aerodynamics. A well place adverb could be like racing stripes rather that something that protruded from the body drawing too much attention to itself and causing wind resistance.

Or perhaps a writer can look at it this way. Verbs are the meat of the story, the action. Adverbs, along with adjectives, article, prepositions, etc., they are more like the seasoning.

This thinking is particularly important with flash fiction since the point is to get to the action and to keep things streamlined.

Adverbs are not to be avoided like the plague but rather used carefully and sparingly like the perfect spice to enhance the power base of the story which is the verbs.

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