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Adverbs & Other Thoughts on Editing

September 20, 2017

Stephen King is famous, or infamous depending on your view, for stating, "I believe the road to Hell is paved with adverbs..." I disagree. I love adverbs! One of my pet peeves is that they are not used enough in conversation.  "Jane ran quick," is the same as nails on a chalkboard for me. However, in my writing, I have had to compromise on using adverbs.

 

This brings me to editing. I love editing. Unlike most authors I actually know (notice the use of an adverb there), I write too many words. At the end of my first draft, I always have thousands of extra words. At least 5K words that need to be cut. I love my Hemingway software. I pop in my document and moments later I have suggestions for making this my best novel ever. HUNDREDS of suggestions.

 

The large majority of my flaws are too many adverbs and use of passive voice. So I go back through my WIP and ruthlessly cut words. Stephen King would be so proud! The word 'just' is a prime example. I'm embarrassed to tell you how many times that appears in a draft...

 

Editing is therapeutic for me. Cleansing. Not all writers agree. But editing gives me a chance to look at my book all over again. And wince. And then make it better.  If only my real life was so easy. Wouldn't it be great if we could erase things we'd said. Or done? Remember the eighties? That decade was a minefield for things to zap. Day Glo colored everything. Shoulder pads. Parachute pants. If you're over a certain age, you know what I mean.

 

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