I just really, really really love playing around with words when I’m working on my novel, entitled The Man Who Really Really Really Hated Women. Especially those words that modify verbs, I actually and honestly think they’re called abverbs, or somethin like that. I absolutely, certainly and really cain’t understand why some writers say not to overly or excessively or even arbitrarily use them sweet little abverbs like they certainly and surely and necessarily should.
Am I making sense, Maggie, you really and necessarly and phenomenalllly – I truly think my l key sticks – don’t think I actually and positively and genuinely use to many do you?
Yours for real,
The Abverb Consult –ant
Dear – and that should be Adverb – Consultant,
I simply really, really, really think you do use too many adverbs (spelled with a “d,” not a “b”), at least in your letter to me. If your novel is anything like your letter, I don’t believe you’re ready to query prospective literary agents just yet.
As a matter of fact, many writing experts recommend avoiding their use altogether. Now that’s a bit extreme, if you ask me. Such people are known as Adverbalitionists, according to Edward M. Baldwin (EdwardMBaldwin.com), a high-ranking Fanstory.com writer in his article, “Why Writers Fight and Bicker.” As Mr. Baldwin so succinctly and amazingly stated, “According to Adverbalitionists, writing adverbs is the one sin that dooms your writing soul (also known as a ‘muse’) to publishing purgatory for all eternity.”
Well, Mr. Adverb Consultant, my soul has long been consigned to that rather uncomfortable place for other writing sins already, so why not add another to the rather lengthy list. But before I damn my soul completely, let me add that strengthening your verbs is a far, far better thing to do than toss in a bunch of cute but unnecessary adverbs.
For example, let’s look at the following sentence:
“Ms. Brown walked swiftly down the lane.”
According to Adverbalitionists – and other writers, I might add – a better sentence would be:
“Ms. Brown galloped down the lane.” Or “Ms. Brown shot down the lane.”
You get the picture? I certainly and deliriously and absolutely and unconditionally hope so!!!
Excuse me while I go roll in some catnip to take the bad taste of your writing out of my mouth.
P.S. Unnecessary adverbs aren’t your only problem.