I do a lot of critiques for different writers during the week. Some of the writers are very polished; others, not so much.
The one thing I’ve noticed in all levels, is an abundance of adverbs. I must admit, I get jealous at how prettified some of those sentences read. I can’t write like that. My brain isn’t wired that way.
According to William Noble, many inexperienced writers, and I will add-unpublished but have been around the block a few times writers, throw in “pretty” words(adverbs or adjectives) to make their prose more dramatic and meaningful. These cosmetic touch-ups often turn out to be redundant or simply uninspiring. They bog down your story without adding meaning.
Is the adverb necessary?
He zoomed around the oval speedily.-Is it possible to zoom without speeding?
He stuttered haltingly.-Can you stutter without doing it haltingly?
What about ‘show don’t tell’? Adverbs encourage lazy writing.
He whispered to her lovingly. (Telling)
He whispered words of love…my sweet, dear lover, my angel…(Showing)
Remember, there are better ways to prettify your prose, and using adverbs isn’t one of them. You’re going to have to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Start showing not telling.
I am not a NEVER ADVERBS person. Sometimes they are necessary to provide detail or clarity.
The man sang loudly.
The girl was really cute.
When a writer needs to set up a scene and move through it quickly, then the adverb shortcut isn’t a bad idea. The problem comes when the shortcut becomes the norm, and your reader is left with an uninteresting experience.
What’s wrong with Adverbs? Nothing as long as you don’t abuse them.