WriteWorld: "Why?" She said questioningly -
I really really really want to know why. Why do people say we can’t use adverbs? I’ve read books and they use adverbs. What’s with adverbs really? By the way, i love you blog—it’s been said many times already but there’s nothing else I could do to make you happy but know it. - drowningchimes
Do not believe anything that tells you you can’t use this or that in your writing. There is not, by any means, a right way to write. You can use adverbs in your writing. Adverbs are a fundamental part of speech, no different than any other.
The problem comes when people use them a lot. When you use any word or type of word continuously, it shows. It gets repetitive. It gets annoying. They also happen to be the part of speech most likely to clutter your sentence to no avail. They can weaken your prose:
- They can be reduntant. E.g: “I hate these idiots!” He yelled angrily. You have a strong verb right here, no need to use “angrily”, I got the idea he was angry.
- They can prop up a weak verb. Let’s take a look at “to boldly go”. Okay, split infinitive. What I mean is that just saying “to go” sorta sounds bland. You may think the adverb is necessary. But no. The verb just happens to be weak, generic, bland. How about replacing the verb? “To venture”, “To explore”. These verbs are more specific, more evocative so to speak.
- The speech tags deal. We go back to talking about “said”. Instead of picking some pompous word to replace said, we spice it up with an adverb. This is often (yet, not always) unecessary. Most of the time, you can let the dialogue speak for itself. Or you can use more things to explain how the characters are saying it, if it’s not clear. “I am dying here!” Kyle waved his arms in the air, trying to make his friends notice him.
- You (probably are) telling instead of showing.
Before using an adverb, you can ask yourself these questions:
1) Does it change the word it modifies? Does it make the verb or adjective mean something drastically different?
2) Does it convey some vital piece of information in a way that’s better or more evocative than real description or a stronger verb by itself?
It’s a thing on style, however. If you like to use lots of adverbs, and feel like they’re necessary, go for it.
In the end, yes, books have adverbs. You can use adverbs. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t. Do ask yourself if the message you’re trying to get across with your writing is being sent the best way it can be.
If given the opportunity, meet your idols and gush like the village idiot. Some of them are still people and like to be reminded why their publicists dragged them to New York. —
BEA tips from Shelf Awareness (via rachelfershleiser)
Love this tip. I gush at my idols whenever possible. Everyone likes to hear that their work has made an impression. And these are writers, after all, who almost never get recognized on the street. Give them some glory!
Huh. I’ve always lived in mortal fear of gushing too much. Maybe it’s because I burst into tears when I met Tom Robbins, the primary literary idol of my 20s. AWK-WARD.
motivation for moving beyond your writing habits: Resources for finding literary agents -
It’s always a good idea to begin your research as early as you can, because A LOT is still not enough. When you round up your data, make sure you check out every website, twitter, or other networking site an agency might have.
To jump-start your research, here are all the resources I’ve compiled over the process of my own querying journeys (also, these sites are free, and a few of them have donation pages or additional services if you do find them helpful):
- Agent Query — is a great website with a database of agents. AQ also has additional resources like how to submit to a literary agent and how to write a query.
- Query Tracker — is updated quickly, especially when agents close to submissions for periods of time. QT has individual message boards for each agent page so writers who are querying can see approximate and recent response times that other writers are getting. Additionally, agent pages also have graphs and lists of clients and other useful things.
- Absolute Write — is a forum for writers that has a whole branch for members to discuss agents, response times, goings-on, so on and so forth. Other helpful threads include workshopping chapters and queries — which, if you’re fairly new to querying, is highly recommended.
- Literary Rambles — is a blog run by Casey McCormick and Natalie Aguirre, and they post really sweet, in-depth profiles and blurbs from interviews of literary agents in the YA (young adult), MG (middle grade), PB (picture books) and CB (chapter book) realms.
- Writer Beware — is sponsored by the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) with support from the MWA (Mystery Writers of America). They update with publishing scams and schemes and traps with advice on how to spot and avoid them. They also have a blog and a facebook page.
- What to do when you’ve finished your manuscript — is advice I put together to help prepare writers to prepare their manuscripts and submission needs. Many writers begin querying before they’re ready.
- Avoiding publishing scams — another quick tidbit of advice on steeling oneself against the temptation of “too good to be true” offers. The aforementioned sites are linked here as well.
Writing is like hunting. There are brutally cold afternoons with nothing in sight, only the wind and your breaking heart. Then the moment when you bag something big. The entire process is beyond intoxicating. —
Kate Braverman (via wordpainting)
We writers are so cute, drawing comparisons between our solitary wordsmithing to activities that require actual physical exertion and deadly weapons.
Nevertheless, it is just exactly like this.
Vintage book cover redesigns for James M. Cain
Classic backlist books often see many cover repackagings throughout the years. But, the new cover designs for novels by author James M. Cain caught our attention. According to John Gall’s Spine Out, the new editions should be available in Spring 2011. The new look is a collaboration between book cover designers Megan Wilson and Evan Gaffney.
The design for “The Postman Always Rings Twice” does a beautiful job at paying homage to Arthur Hawkins, Jr.’s typographic style for the first edition dust jacket (published by Knopf, c. 1934). Mildred Pierce looks like it draws inspiration from the 1945 movie rather than the original dust jacket design from 1941.
(view three new Cain book cover designs larger via Spine Out)
Not sure “drink coffee” needs to be on there, but the rest is great.
“Drink coffee” may not need to be on the list, but for some of us, it’s indispensable.