To Use or Not To Use: Adverbs

One of my work friends introduced me to this written work by Stephen King and re-posted by BrainPickings.com:

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/03/13/stephen-king-on-adverbs/

The article is all about adverbs – specifically the ‘ly’ adverbs – and how they’re the bane of writer’s existence and how the excessive use of the ly adverbs is the mark of what he calls a “timid writer.”

Now, I’ll be honest, I had some issues with the timid writer part. I don’t entirely agree with his assertion that fear is the root of bad writing – deadlines, time limits, not enough practice in the art perhaps but not necessarily fear itself. So it’s not ‘timid writing’ more like tired writing or young writing even. If a writer grasps for ly adverbs instead of shifting the sentence around and using stronger verbs then I would propose the writer is tired or young or not as interested in his or her craft (or even doesn’t recognize how weak ly adverbs can make a sentence sound.

Because, yes, just as Mr. King asserts, it is true, using ly words does tend to weaken sentences, especially if you can find one action word that would sum it up for you. Publishers (and readers) like strong sentences, and if you can say it in three words rather than four, say it in three words.

I loved the example he gave:

[‘Put it down!’ she shouted.
‘Give it back,’ he pleaded, ‘it’s mine.’
‘Don’t be such a fool, Jekyll,’ Utterson said.

In these sentences, shouted, pleaded, and said are verbs of dialogue attribution. Now look at these dubious revisions:

‘Put it down! she shouted menacingly.
‘Give it back,’ he pleaded abjectly, ‘it’s mine.’
‘Don’t be such a fool, Jekyll,’ Utterson said contemptuously.]

Though it’s a bit much, it showcases his point rather well.

It was rather good timing on my work friend’s part as well since it’s something I’m trying to change in my writing too. (My writing group hounds me on this subject on a weekly basis!)  One thing that I’m doing is going through my chapters and using the Find tool to search for ‘ly’ – I was shocked when I learned how many ‘ly’ words I used in the span of ten pages (41, if you’d like to know) and, when I looked at the ly words I found if I altered the sentence and omitted the word it became a stronger easier to understand image. Poof – stronger writing! (Of course, changing most of the 41 ly words wasn’t necessarily poof, more like a hissing leak in a old oxygen tank.)

I’ll agree with one more thing in Stephen King’s article – you can use adverbs (ly or not) in your writing. Use them, but don’t abuse them.

Now the sun is shining, and I have to go enjoy it. Have a lovely weekend!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Self Publishing a Novel?

Well, I’m thinking about it. My NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) novella actually, I’ve been going through it and, while it’s a different field then I’ve done and in multiple point of views, I really like it. And I mean… I really like it. The story, the characters, the world building, everything! I keep going back and reading the story. For being written in a month, it turned out pretty good, and I’m considering putting it out there.

How can I make this happen though?
Here are some things I’ve brainstormed thus far… 

Editing:
I’ve gone through and edited it, of course, but before I actually self-publish the thing I would like my core writing group to read it too so I know there’s nothing confusing in it that I missed. 

Cover/Back:
It’s extremely important to have a riveting cover for the book. I’d have to figure out how to make one, or have an artist make one for me (I have a fair amount of friends who are artistic). 

Publisher:
Amazon.com most likely, but I’d like to find out if there are other e-book outlets too… I must do some research!

Marketing:
My facebook/twitter pages
I could create an author website though, too, I’ve seen a bunch of self-publishers do this sort of thing and honestly I think it’s a pretty good idea.

Hmm, so much to do! But the editing process will take the longest I think. (That and finding a good e-publisher.) I honestly think this story is a good one though, and I think people will like it. Topping at 72,022 words, It’s got bio-technology, a divided warring world and even some romance sprinkled in. I just haven’t really breached this type of publishing before so I’m woefully lacking in knowledge of the area.

Have any of you been through this self-publishing world? Any advice would be appreciated…

Warmest regards,
Kellie

Quiet – And Perfect – Day (Why am I not inspired?)

Today is the day after 4th of July. It’s a Friday and most of my co-workers took the day off. (Any sane person would since who’d want to go to work on a Friday after a Thursday holiday anyway? Christmas, this year, will be interesting…) So, understandably, thus far today’s been a very very quiet day.

I’ve done all the usual things:
– morning duties
– hunt for articles (I think the reporters took the day off too, where’s all the interesting news?)
– check the plants
– straighten the bosses box (it gets messy when he’s away)
– filed the one document in the ToBeFiled box

And even some non-work stuff:
– Cirque (emailing newspaper editors and authors, updating Facebook)
– work on blogpost (would this be considered metablogging?)
– queried a new agent – Jessica Negron of the Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC

Of course I’m still doing the usual receptionist/admin assistant duties of answering the phones, greeting people that come in and making copies for co-workers who need them but it’s been quite the quiet day. It’s the perfect day for writing actually, not many distractions, not much work-work to do, and yet I can’t seem to get the inspiration to write today. I know what I should be writing. I have the end of my 2nd installment planned out in full. I want to write that book, tie up the loose ends, round out the characters and finish the story. Today would be the perfect day to continue working on Chapter 17 (500 words in thus far). 

But I can’t seem to get the motivation to do so… 

So, I’ve come up with a solution. I’ve got some stories to read and comment on – a few from my Jitters group and one from my UAA group – and I hope the reading and commenting process will motivate me to work on my own writing. 

If that doesn’t work, I’ve got this handy picture waiting on my desktop:

Image

 

 

So yes, today’s a quiet day. I will write. Today’s the perfect day for it.

Have a happy holiday weekend!
Warm regards,
Kellie