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Sunday, August 27

Writing Prompt: The Skill Builder: On the Hunt for Adverbs

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week’s prompt focuses on an exercise designed to work on a particular skill or technique, such as a point of view exercise or character builder. Today’s skill: Word choice.

Using the right word can mean the difference between a ho-hum sentence and a fantastic sentence. A common trouble spot for ho-hum words is in sentences that rely on adverbs to get the action or emotion across.

Pick a scene in your WIP and rewrite every sentence that uses an adverb to eliminate that adverb.


Not every adverb is bad and they do have their uses, so you don’t want do this exercise on your active manuscript. Copy a scene or chapter into another file and rewrite every sentence that uses an adverb so it’s using a stronger noun or verb instead.

For example: “She ran quickly through the field” might become “She raced through the field.”

Some sentence will be stronger after the revision, but you’ll also find some that took far too much work to rewrite and didn’t make the sentence any better. Seeing the difference will help you develop your “adverb instincts” so you can more easily tell when an adverb is needed or not.

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