Sunday, February 03, 2019

Sunday Writing Tip: Get Rid of Unnecessary Adverbs

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Each week, I’ll offer a tip you can take and apply to your WIP to help improve it. They’ll be easy to do and shouldn’t take long, so they’ll be tips you can do without taking up your Sunday. Though I do reserve the right to offer a good tip now and then that will take longer—but only because it would apply to the entire manuscript.

This week, cut or revise any unnecessary adverbs.

Adverbs aren’t inherently bad, but they’re often a red flag for weak writing in the manuscript, and opportunities to make that writing stronger. They’re moments of emotion or action that could be fleshed out for greater impact or interest.

This task might take longer than the usual Sunday Tip, but search for ly [space], ly, ly. and possibly ly; in your manuscript. Examine any adverbs found (not all of them will be, such as family), and decide if it’s the best word for that sentence or if you can do better.

Not every adverb will need cutting, so don’t feel to have to delete them all. Be objective and decide what works and what doesn’t on a word-by-word basis.

For more on adverbs in your novel, try these articles:

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