There’s nowt wrong with a right good adverb

The internet creaks with people giving you writing advice, telling you exactly how to construct your tale. My writing advice: don’t listen to writing advice. Including this, if it doesn’t suit you. Write what makes your heart sing, your mind spark and your inner self go whoop-di-doo. Write people you fall in love with and characters you despise. Create beings who shock you and betray your trust, sending your story spinning off into uncharted skies undreamt of when you filed your flight plan. Write people. People with reasons for the things they do. People who think they are the goodies. Or, you know, sprout-creatures from the planet Pobble if you’re writing weird SF.

Ignore any ‘expert’ that tries to restrain what words you can use before you actually use them – they also likely believe that their anus emits sunlight. Especially dismiss that often-repeated shit about never using adverbs. Employ deftly; elegantly bedizen your doing words with adverbs like shimmering jewels on a smooth cleavage. Use the buggers, but yes, use them sparingly, with meaning and thought. Telling a new writer not to use adverbs is like taking the screwdriver out of a toolkit. Well alright, maybe a spanner.

So, no blanket rules, okay? Although… is “Edit the shizz out of your drafts, then edit again, then get someone else to edit them” a rule? I’d advise that one. Otherwise, write what you want – then edit it to a high sheen so that the reader will almost smell the sprouts. These are metaphorical sprouts – you get that, right?

So don’t listen to writing advice – but do listen, intently, to editing advice, even it comes from inside your own head. Oh, and if you can’t be wazzocked to edit, re-edit, re-re-edit yourself, then hire a good editor. I happen to know a superb editor – she’s here.


About wombat37

A Yorkshireman in the green hills of Lancashire, UK Not a real wombat, obviously, or typing would become an issue. I do have short legs and a hairy nose, however. Oh, & a distinctive smell.

Posted on February 25, 2016, in Editing, Witter, Writing. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I’ll second that!


  2. Love sprouts by the way… 😉


  3. What brilliant advice! It ALMOST inspired me to write


  4. This is the perfect writing advice! I totally agree! Did you read my post about Adverbs? It is in perfect agreement with yours – I refer to it as a ‘hate campaign’. Despite being an editor, I still think you need to write how YOU write, and sod everyone else, anything terrible, you get an editor to sort out!

    (in case you want a gander: )

    Liked by 1 person

  5. He he…this is the week I wrote a blog post about writing advice, lol, but I did try not to be preachy about it!
    I’m not keen on adverbs tbh, but if they work for you I won’t stop anyone from using them!
    You’re right we should write what we want, whatever trips off our fingers on the keyboard and then edit it to work the best we can 🙂


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