Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Quick Take: Pesky Adverbs

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Feb• 11•14

I know and you know that our writing rarely needs adverbs, especially those that end in ly. Instead of walk slowly, plod. Instead of walk quickly, stride.

Disgust is a whole ‘nother matter. If you write she looked away in disgust. Or “Stop that!” she said disgustedly, the reader isn’t going to get a sense of disgust.  It’s the old problem of telling. Disgust and disgustedly just don’t have the power to reveal that emotion.

Disgust is a universal emotion so readers can relate to it. It can be revealed in body language as when a character recoils or steps back, turns his head away; facial expressions;  in dialogue (Ew! You’ve got to be freaking kidding me); or small, harsh interjections (Ugh. Ack. Phew. Ick.)

Emotions are dynamic, not static in fiction so don’t describe them.


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