A Week of Writing Tips
> Can someone give me a quick definition as to why -ly words are often
> flagged? Is it because they 'tell' instead of 'show'?
WORD PAINTING: A GUIDE TO WRITING MORE DESCIPTIVELY by Rebecca McClanahan.
Why write "walked seductively" or "said softly" when you can write "slinked/vamped" and "whispered/murmured"? McClanahan also says, "Adverbs like *closely* sneak up on us, and before we know it, we're writing phrases like 'ravishingly stunning' or 'hurrying quickly.'"
Why allow your car to break down in Redundancyville?
High octane words, please, and fill the tank.
Besides -ly words, we're often guilty of adding modifiers/amplifiers, like *very, extremely*, and *quite*. Suzy was very beautiful. Joe was quite handsome. What do *very* and *quite* to the visual image the reader receives? Concrete details paint the picture. Suzy had a Julia Roberts smile. Yes, a little cliched there, but you know the smile.
I'm not saying never use adverbs.
Sometimes they fit.
Into the earthy bed, Joe gently laid the puppy. Slowly, diligently, lovingly, he covered the body with a blanket of dirt. His children wept. He wept. The sun would come up tomorrow, but, right now, this was the worst day of his life.
Just remember that when you limit your use of adverbs, when you do use one, it's impact is greater. Let it create a mood, paint a picture.
Care to share a paragraph from your manuscript where you fittingly used an adverb or few?