Today, I want to discuss a pet peeve–adverbs. When I find adverbs propping up weak verbs in the indie stories I read, it makes me want to sit down with the author for a chat. Here’s what I’d say: find your adverbs and get rid of them. Then replace the weak verbs with stronger ones. Your readers will thank you. Let’s look at some examples:
Bad: He walked slowly home. Better: He ambled home.
Bad: Gandalf gently threw a spell at the orc. Better: Gandalf tossed a spell at the orc.
Bad: Harry spoke softly to Ron. Better: Harry whispered to Ron.
Adverbs are tenacious. They find their way even into my rough drafts. But many adverbs end in “-ly”, so I use Word’s search function to find “-ly” words and repair the adverb damage. Even a master storyteller warns us:
The road to hell is paved with adverbs. – Stephen King, On Writing
Please write cautiously, craftily, and responsibly. (See? icky!)