Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Softly, Quietly, Calmly

According to dictionary.com an adverb is " a word that modifies verbs, clauses, and in English and Latin modifies other adverbs and adjectives."  Most of us know them as the "-ly" words with some other ones like well, very, rather, more, etc.

There is a quote by Stephen King that is plastered everywhere, "The road to hell is paved in adverbs"
But if you read Under the Dome (and this is another whole blog post) there are a lot of adverbs. There tends to be this school of thought among the literati that adverbs are bad and if you use them then you are bad.

Am I really concerned about what the literati think of me? I know I am not part of that snobby class. Here's a quick side note on my place in the literature- I once joined an online writing group and it was open season for the new girl. Basically (adverb), I was mainstream and I had no place in the group. There were some to defend me. Needless to say, I quit the group. Back to adverbs...

We learn adverbs in school. If good writing doesn't use adverbs (might want to tell Dan Brown because he used "quietly" a lot in in the DaVinci Code) Then what is the sense of learning adverbs? So we as writers know to delete them right away? Or is it so we can play "Mad Libs" effectively(adverb)? Are adverbs really all that bad? No, they are not. And I highly doubt the road to hell is paved with them, really the road to hell is paved in Nazi skeletons, blood, murder,  and the hands of serial killers.

But, you say, doesn't the quote mean to show not tell? An adverb tells and doesn't show us anything... That is true but sometimes an adverb is the right word. It adds ambiguity. Which the literati just love ripping apart creative writing looking for the why- why did the writer do this or do that? My question, as a writer, why do I have to show you everything? Can't you come up with your thoughts and use your imagination? Using adverbs makes the reader the judgment for himself on the motive of the sentence.

And when it comes to poetry an adverb, sometimes, is just to nice to say, it glides off the tongue.

I don't know who makes up the rules for writing and who says what is in and what is not in. You know what I don't give a crap about the rules. I don't give a crap about the mysterious literati. I if I want to use adverbs, then fuck I will, sparingly of course...

Till we meet again.

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