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Don’t insult your readers intelligence

29 June 2012

From Kristen Lamb’s Blog

Offender #1—Adverb Abuse

One of the reasons I am such a Nazi when it comes to adverbs it that they are notorious culprits for stating the obvious. “She smiled happily.” Um, yeah. “He yelled loudly.” As opposed to yelling softly? To be blunt, most adverbs are superfluous and weaken the writing. Find the strongest verb and then leave it alone.

The ONLY time an adverb is acceptable is when it is there to denote some essence that is not inherent in the verb.

For example: She whispered quietly. Okay, as opposed to whispering loudly?

Quietly is implied in the verb choice. Ah, but what if you want her to whisper conspiratorially? Or whisper sensually? The adverbs conspiratorially or sensually tells us of a very specific types of whispers, and are not qualities automatically denoted in the verb.

This was from Kristen Lambs blog, you can read the rest here: 4 Writing Crutches that Insult the Reader’s Intelligence

 

There are four basic rules, certainly something that I have attempted to imprint on my writers mind.

Contributed by guest blogger brendan

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74 Comments to “Don’t insult your readers intelligence”

  1. Jason Brook Jr.

    Lol, writing rules. Yelling loudly vs. yelling are two very different things (volume levels, nuance difference, perhaps a social cue to the reader). The advice “less or no adverbs, please” is sprouted by writing instructors far and wide, but it has no meaning. A writer aims for clarity and sometimes that means using one of those dreaded adverbs. I cannot yell loudly enough about it because if I only yell people only half listen.

    Then again, it’s all about personal style. I have issues with ‘slightly’ and in know it. There’s a big difference between overuse and good use and in the case of ‘slightly’ I need to cut down. Every writer is different and thank god for it; otherwise, no one would read because it would be boring!

    This is just my opinion. Sorry if it conflicts with those soon to comment.

    • Jason: Preach it, brother. I am SO tired of writers saying, “Don’t ever do this.” A smart writer gets to make her own rules to fit the story she is telling, while staying within the major rules of writing clearly.

      I have a new rule of thumb these days. Every time I see a rule that I should never, ever break, I open up the first Harry Potter book and inevitably go, “Ah-ha! J.K. Rowling did.”

      I did the workshops, did the writers group, and did the critiquing. Now I get to do my own writing. I will let the readers–the market–decide how I’m doing.

      • Yep. JK Rowling and Anne Rice broke these all the time. Stephanie Meyer – whatever we think of her writing, she sells books – is notorious for it.

        I’m beginning to think that a lot of the experts are making this stuff up as they go, calling their tastes “rules.” Not all are full of it, but more than we’d care to admit.

    • “Don’t whisper yell at me!”~Coach Taylor, Friday Night Lights.

      Sorry, just had to add that because it was a great scene and fit in here. 😛 I try to keep my adverbs to a minimum, especially the way they are used in the examples.

  2. The problem with being an Adverb Nazi is that people always take your advice to extremes – some novice writers believe that all adverbs are bad. They also believe all ‘telling’ is wrong, and you should remove all instances of ‘that’.

    It’s entirely possible to smile unhappily, making ‘she smiled happily’ not quite as silly as suggested. And give me a better way of saying, ‘He walked quickly’. ‘He ran’ is not what I mean.

    But then I think there is only one rule, apart from getting spelling, punctuation and grammar right. Don’t bore the reader.

    • Jason Brook Jr.

      Ah, the ‘that’ thing. Sometimes it really is needed!

      P.s., He assumed a brisk, commanding pace as he sauntered towards me with that sexy stud-muffin body of his. His manly tread was such that it immediately sent my spine straighter than a marine at full parade rest and created swirly-whirly feelings in my stomach that just screamed “HELLO SAILOR”… loudly. 😉

      (Sounds fun :))

    • I often think “don’t be boring” is the only true rule in writing. The rest are more like guidelines and conventions, which you get to ignore if you’re sufficiently talented and/or sufficiently famous.

      You could think of “kill the adverbs” as a specific example of a more general rule, “don’t say things that the reader will assume anyway” (which is perhaps just another way of saying, “don’t insult the reader’s intelligence”).

      An adverbless way of saying “walked quickly” that doesn’t imply “ran”… hurried, scurried, scuttled, darted, minced, pranced… shall I go on? 😉

    • I agree.

      Adverbs are a very useful part of the language. And anyway, they aren’t restricted just to the “-ly” words.

      Anything can be excessively used.

      And as for the “telling,” Stephen King always did quite well with considerable “telling.” For instance, the first few pages of “The Stand” (which still seems to be the fan favorite among all his books, although my top favorite is “The Dead Zone” for its human story), are a complete “tell” of main character Stu Redman’s entire life history.

      “Tell” can be done well, in the right hands. And it’s pretty common in fantasy when extensive worlds and backgrounds are being laid out.

      My feeling is as long as it’s balanced and works, go for it.

    • Well, I use “that” way too often, and in places that it really doesn’t need to be. So for me, that’s just a word that I need to do a search and replace and check to see if that particular instance is one that I should keep, or if it’s one that I should nuke with prejudice.

      …and that’s an example paragraph only slightly exaggerated for effect. *facepalm*

  3. Jason Brook Jr.

    By the way, I often get the feeling these rules insult writers more than readers. IMO.

  4. “He yelled loudly.” As opposed to yelling softly?”

    Yes, as when you teach your dog to bark with an inside voice.
    😉

    And why does everything have to refer to Nazis?
    They were torturers and murders. To compare those genuine crimes against humanity to someone who is anally retentive about grammar
    diminishes the deaths of millions of people.

    • Jason Brook Jr.

      I think people don’t like being called ‘grammar anal’. I also agree. That word should be reserved for referring to what it actually means.

      • Obsessive works perfectly well, without having to resort to either “anal” or “Nazi”.

        I hate what Jerry Seinfeld did with his stupid Soup Nazi nomenclature. He managed to take the name of the organization that murdered millions of his people and make it into a punchline. Nice going, Jerry.

      • Why not say they are being a martinet when it comes to grammar/spelling? Or obsessive. Or very focused.

    • I can’t stand this use of “Nazi” either, but it’s too common by now to do something about it.

      Though I find it disturbing that people would rather be compared to fascist mass murderers than be called “anal”. Because butts are so much more icky than genocide.

    • Thank you for pointing that out. I always twitch badly when I see people refer to themselves as grammar/spelling Nazis and feel tempted to take them seriously and ask whether they really are bigotted racists who condone the torture and murder of million of people.

      I would expect a writer to be a tad bit more sensitive about word-choices, especially when giving advice about word-choices.

  5. Yeah, and have you read the grateful comments to this post? Why do so many authors like being told what to do?

  6. There are always extremes, and also the insulting the readers bit. It’s finding the balance that adds something to their experience and to further clarify the mood or reaction.

    Some say that the dialogue should stand on its own, and only be tagged with ‘said’ and ‘asked’. I have noticed a couple pro authors in that school, before i was even interested in writing seriously. I thought they were unimaginative with regards to their dialogue.

    I can agree its weak to say someone gestured wildly – how? One person’s wild is another person’s upbringing.

    However, there’s the extreme that leads to no descriptive words. I rec’d back a critique in a group read with *every* adverb and adjective crossed out.

    Not helpful, and advice not heeded.

    • LOL I’m there with you, Sharon. I once had a crit partner, who’d created a Word macro to cross out every single word in ms that ended in ‘-ly’.

      My heroine’s name was Molly.

  7. Poor Taylor Caldwell. In her book “I Judas”, she wrote “He smiled mirthlessly.” I thought it was a little odd, but didn’t worry too much about it. Then, twenty or so pages later there was the same phrase, “He smiled mirthlessly.” That’s a bit much I thought. Then, on the same page she did it again: “He smiled mirthlessly.” Three times within twenty to twenty-five pages.

    I don’t see that as insulting, just lazy.

  8. As a reader of fiction, I think the use of italics to denote either non-verbal communication or internal dialogue has become an almost indispensible convention.

    • I reserve italics for telepathic communication, but then I write SF&F.

      • I’m spoiled for telepathy from the ElfQuest novelizations — telepathy is italics and stars. 😉

        (Though I’ve got a short story that I need to finish, where sub-vocalization on the implant communicator is italics and single-quotes…)

    • Same. Although I’ve found that I don’t like the way 4 or 5 sentences of thinking look on the page when they’re all in italics. I’m trying the first sentence in italics, then paragraph break at the end of a long thought passage.

      The main character in one of my novels was an exceptionally thoughtful lass. She paused a lot when speaking. Thus, elipses. Huh.

  9. OK, given the topic I’m going to go there…

    “Don’t insult your readers intelligence”

    Is that supposed to be

    “Don’t insult your reader’s intelligence”

    or

    “Don’t insult your readers’ intelligence”

    I… just… can’t …help…myself 🙂

    • Ha!

      On the subject of pet peeves . . . why does no one use the subjunctive tense any more?

      (Yes, elipses. Ha!)

      • Whups! Think I meant the conditional.

        I see so many times:

        “If only she was rich, then she would be dancing.”

        And I really, really want it to be:

        “If only she were rich, then she would be spinning.”

        Or dancing. Or whatever. But I want that “were.”

      • As a reader, prose that is overly adverb-y does not bother me too much. It’s the things like possessive apostrophes and “there/their/they’re” that really get to me because I have to stop reading and re-parse the sentence. Disturbs my flow, man!

        Commas are another one. I think they’re massively overused, but methinks that’s a whole other discussion…

        [And yes, I’m aware I use ellipses too much…]

  10. Adverbs are not our enemies. They are simply modifiers. They characterize or describe verbs, other adverbs, and adjectives. They are a scrumpdilyicious tool in the writer’s toolbox and it would be asinine to campaign against them.

    Clearly, they shouldn’t be overused, obvious, or arrive in an exhausted state (tired!). Their job is to put a spin on whatever word it is they’re modifying. Employ them!

    I highly recommend the book Spunk & Bite: a Writer’s Guide to Bold, Contemporary Style by Arthur Plotnik. See especially the chapter on adverbs–it’s gratifyingly bold!

    I wish it had been published back in the day when I was teaching writing, so that my students could see some of its deliciously apt examples of good adverb usage.

    Ch. 6 (titled Joltingly Bold Adverbs) includes these gems from famous writers: lashingly funny, genetically goofy, woundingly beautiful, juicily ridiculous, etc. Michiko Kakutani, the NYT critic, uses them often to good effect (she once described someone’s prose as “engagingly demented”).

    I doubt any writer of humor, satire, or gothic-anything could get by without adverbs. Instead of categorizing them as a menace, I think writers should consider them a challenge and a pleasure to use correctly.

    And pardon me if that makes me sound like a scold. Not so, I simply dislike rules like this because, as an earlier commenter noted, amateur writers and editors take them to heart and miss out on a lot of fun.

  11. Trying to keep these rules in mind while reading a good book, and how it would be changed if edited to these standards, I think the best use of these rules is learning how to break them.

  12. As a reader, I rather like adverbs than dislike them. Most of the time, they provide a far more clear and efficient description than the long strings of evasive words that authors tend to resort to so they can avoid adverbs. There is nothing inherently bad or less intelligent about adverbs. Honestly, I’m more insulted by the concept that I want to spend all my reading time trying to decipher complex prose. It’s an author’s job to tell me an entertaining story, not make me feel like I’m in AP English again.

    • That’s a very interesting point you’re making.

      I sometimes think writers focus too much the mechanics of writing instead of the actual story. They have all that theoretical knowledge in their head about what a writer should and shouldn’t do, instead of focusing on the actual story and on writing a captivating and entertaining story.

      I’ve noticed that before. Non-writers viewed a story as entertaining and fun while writers went on about ‘too much exposition’, ‘show don’t tell’, not enough of this, not enough of that. It’s as if they were so focused on finding negative things that they weren’t able to view the story as a whole.

      • That’s the whole “Does writing ruin you for reading” meme. Short answer, it depends 🙂

        Only speaking for myself here

        Really appalling prose is hard for me to read now. I can see the errors like they are painted in neon.

        But if a writer uses tricks and tics that are different to the tricks and tics that I use (Italics for internal thought for instance) I don’t throw the book down and rush off to post some heated comment about how italics should only be reserved for telepathic communication, I just accept that writers have different styles and get on with reading the story.

        If you are one of these grammar-pronouncers though, then I should imagine that would ruin your reading enjoyment of anything that doesn’t reach the high standards of perfection you require from everybody else’s writing. Particularly if you base your idea of perfection on whatever grammar based blog posts you can find in the first page of google results.

        That might be a tad bitchy. Apologies to any grammar-mavens who don’t pronounce but simply advise.

  13. Never say never. Oops, never use cliches.
    There are few rules in writing or life that fall under the never or always list.

  14. I had an editor who told me to use one adverb per twenty pages. I countered with “ten pages.” She agreed. The point of it wasn’t to actually count pages (I never did). It was to make me more discriminating about when to pull one out of the bag.

    Being aware of your adverb usage is just good craft. An author never needs to say “He whispered quietly.” These silly, unneeded types of adverbs are easy to take out. Adverbs can also alert us to weak or unclear verbs. For instance, “he said angrily” is pretty blah, whereas “he snarled” or “he snapped” is a lot more punchy.

    Adverbs are just like everything else in the world. You need balance. I personally LOVE adverbs, and I think they can add lovely shading at the right moment, but drag your story down at the wrong moments.

    • Ah, but if you use snarled or snapped (or growled or hissed), you get the “saidism police” after you, telling you that people are not animals and do not snap, snar, growl, or hiss; they SAY and only ‘say’.

      I happen to agree that I find the animal sounds more colorful, unless, like anything else, they are used to excess.

      • *goes around hissing and growling just to be contrary* “Grrrrr! Sssssss! HHHCCCCCH!” (That’s a hard one to spell out! It’s a hiss but with the middle of the tongue pushed up to the roof of the mouth more than the tip of the tongue. Mimics a certain cat-hiss better than the tip-of-tongue ssssss-hiss, though.)

    • That is an excellent example. Much of the time adverbs can be omitted, and most of the time they are used far to frequently. I’m reading a book now where people are constantly giving a small smile or a contented sigh, or a small frown. Non of these are bad adverbs, but when used all over the place like they are in this book, the big down the story.

    • The sad thing is that the people who inveigh against adverbs don’t even know what one is. They think any word with the suffix -ly is one (not so: see example of studly below), and that only such words are adverbs — which is ridiculous.

      In your own brief comment, Amy, you use 12 adverbs: actually, more, out (twice), just (twice), never, quietly, angrily, more, personally, down. The self-appointed adverb police would be unlikely to recognize more than four of them.

    • But then there are stage whispers, which are loud; voiceless whispers which are inaudible; hissed whispers with their own character; mumbled whispers, which rumble confusingly; snapped whispers that verge on not being whispers; and every other kind of whisper you can imagine. (And I can imagine an awful lot! LOL!)

      😉

  15. Why is it that the only adverbs quoted are the redundant ones?

    I think its silly to thump the invisible rule-book from a soapbox.

    “He assumed a brisk, commanding pace as he sauntered towards me with that sexy stud-muffin body of his…”

    Really? How about ‘He had a studly strut…’

    • ‘He had a studly strut…’

      This reminds me of the classic Morecombe and Wise exchange;

      Ernie: “I have a long felt want.”
      Eric: *pause* “There’s no answer to that.”

  16. But studly in this phrase isn’t an adverb, it’s an adjective.

    Adverbs exist for a reason. I don’t eschew them all. I did drink this particular flavor of Kool-Aid for awhile, but like all “musts”, I’ve given it up. When I judge excerpts from relatively new writers, it’s apparent they’ve internalized this “no adverbs” rule — they twist their sentences in pretzels trying to avoid them. They’re sometimes funny to read, and waste twenty words trying to get across the same concept as a single adverb would communicate.

    • And you therefore make a good example.

      If a writer is sufficiently unsure of his or her skill to regard that sort of absolutist rule as useful or necessary, then it is. That doesn’t mean that the writer who accepts it and works hard to implement it won’t come, later, to the Awful Realization that it just doesn’t work as an absolute; it does mean that the intervening period can be regarded as a sort of practice session, which that writer needed to become more proficient in the craft.

      Regads,
      Ric

  17. Adverbs are parts of speech not pariahs.

    (bumper sticker whoo!)

  18. The entire article revolves around item #4 the Show don’t tell obsession.

    adverbs are are telling, qualifiers are telling, exclamation marks are telling, bold (OK, bold is probably a step too far 🙂 ).

    Personally, I use show or tell as the scene requires. Said*ism is again all about Show vs tell.

    That one three word phrase is wrecking writer’s voices all over the world. I know for I was that writer, once upon a glimmer of light upon a fractured edge of dirty transparency. http://thinkexist.com/quotation/don-t_tell_me_the_moon_is_shining-show_me_the/221178.html

    • “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….”

      ^Telling

    • Jason Brook Jr.

      I actually use bold for speech I want the reader to REALLY note – a dramatic tool – and sometimes use all caps, especially with “YOU think show is good, but FOR ME it’s not!” I also use italics to emphasize words sometimes and often use ! marks. All i’m really doing is creating an affect in the reader’s mind and it works – sometimes.

      (I have never used ?!? or !?! though, but one day I might.)

      • There’s only one real rule: does it work?

        After all, Terry Pratchett uses small caps for Death’s dialogue and I’m pretty sure he’s used punctuation tricks too?

        If it works it stays if it doesn’t cut it, which is why a writer needs an editor who understand the single rule, does it work?

        • And I don’t want to appear to be touting, but the reason I mention that bold might be a step too far is that I am working on sommat right now that involves gods and other sorts of telepathic communication.

          Now I use italics for telepathy, so I used bold/italics in the first draft for gods speaking into the mind of a character — more or less, it’s a tad more complex than that — because it differentiated one from the other, like the gods have a different quality of mental voice.

          But then I caught myself applying different ‘fonts’ to the different ‘sorts’ of gods speaking. That is when it all starts to get out of hand and you start obscuring the story with typography.

          The OP is a pile of steaming horse doodoo, but she is right that the words do have to stand on their own without all the typographical tricks we can play.

          If only because once they get onto an ereader the user can play their own tricks with the font etc, which might mess up your finely crafted typography/

          Therefore, as a writer, I want my words to stand up even if the reader is reading plain text words with no typographical tricks employed. The italics help to show mental communication, but even without them they are written so it is obvious they are telepathy not spoken words. The italics just add, they are not essential. The bold really didn’t add, they were me over-thinking, so I took it out.

          But I’m not you, Jason, we all have to make our own choices and stand by them. That’s the deal when you intend to put stuff up for sale. “My name on the cover. Right or wrong, my words inside.”

          IMHO

          • Jason Brook Jr.

            Nice point. I wrote something similar a few months ago and tossed around a few ideas. In the end I did italics with double quotes for god speech. Everybody else had just double quotes. Then again, I never did telepathy, so I’m not sure how I would have added that in – maybe italics with a clear tag attached or single quotes?

            Sounds fun though. Good luck!

        • Jason Brook Jr.

          I remember that. I always thought it was kind of cool how he did that with death.

  19. However, you can’t be such a strict adherent to the rules that the story suffers. One shouldn’t overdo it, but you have to break the rules sometimes. Given the “NEVER DO THIS” approach she’s advocating, she’ll end up with a perfectly formatted story…and one that puts her readers to sleep. Her editors may like it, but her readers will hate it.

    Don’t be stupid – be adventureous. There’s a big difference.

  20. brendanstallard

    Gang,

    I’m a noob writing fiction, so I take my lessons where I can understand them.

    It’s generally held by most writers that you should read your own work aloud to find out if it works.

    I read about two hours worth of audio into Librivox every week, mostly writers from 100+ years ago.

    When you do that, it is instantly evident which prose works and trips lightly off the tongue and those where it is more akin to a hurdle race and your ankles are bound.

    Those which are easy to read follow these rules. That _is_ a generalization. Sometimes, as in the case of Baron Macaulay, his pompous, vicious humour delights to the level that others find him impossible while for me it’s difficult to stop the ribs from shaking in laughter.

    I’ve read aloud quite a bit of fan fiction, as a favour to fellow noob writers and every single one of them could use a page vacuum for ly and redundancy.

    Even though most writers here on P.G. appear to disagree with Kristen Lamb, I think there’s a lot in what she says.

    I get the bit about knowing a rule before you break it, and writing what works.

    brendan

    • I actually disagree with the bullying tone “Do this and we’ll laugh at you” which speaks of secondary school corridors rather than professional advice.

      Show don’t tell, don’t overuse adverbs or qualifiers, and be careful of unusual punctuation, is all good advice, but they are NOT rules.

      They are also things that, if taken to extremes, can kill a novice writer’s voice before it even has a chance to build timbre and power.

      People learn any art or craft by doing, by making mistakes. Road-maps are good, hectoring back-seat drivers are not.

      IMHO

      • I feel the urge to expand on what I said.

        I used to work in kitchens, part of my duties involved teaching people how to cook. This is where I learned the 4 stages of learning.

        1) Unconscious ignorance
        2) Conscious ignorance
        3) Conscious knowledge/skill
        4) Unconscious knowledge/skill

        The first stage, Unconscious Ignorance, is where all writers (more or less) start from, we write for the sheer joy of creating stories (I’m not speaking to non-fiction because I know nowt about it). We don’t know what we are doing wrong, but it doesn’t matter because we are writing stories goddamit.

        The second stage, Conscious Ignorance, is the most dangerous for a novice writer. We know that we are making mistakes, doing things wrong, not fulfilling the potential of the story. This is the point where posts like Ms Lamb’s can cause real damage, because this is also the point where the writer is developing their style, their voice, and will grab at any bit of knowledge they can find. They seek out books on writing, on grammar, on style, just to try to make their words, which now seem to straggle across the page like the insipid musings of a fool without a clue (at least that is how it felt to me in my late teens).

        The internet has been a boon, all the information in the world is there, but it has also provided a soap-box for the ignorant to lead the ignorant into oblivion. I’ve just taken a look at Ms Lamb’s about page and it confirmed my suspicions. Her only writing experience is writing books for writers on writing. She started in sales and marketing. She has no more knowledge of how to write a story than a 12 year old kid in a bedroom writing a bad Lensman rip-off (I was that kid, as unconsciously ignorant as a Skylark singing songs its parents taught it and happy in my ignorance).

        Anybody who wants to learn about story writing should listen to people who write stories for a living, and make money at it (I am not one of those people…yet). Don’t listen to somebody who has simply trawled up a bunch of rules from a bunch of other no-knowledge writing gurus, who, in turn, created those ‘rules’ by taking the musings of actual writers, sometimes great writers, and codifying them into a tyranny of the shouty.

        That’s the danger of posts like Ms Lambs. The great writers who say, “don’t tell me the moon is shining, show me….” or “The road to hell is paved with adverbs” or many other aphorisms on writing, do so in the knowledge that this is just their way of working, their best advice, they know full well that other writers can and will do the exact opposite of what they advise and, in turn, become, of be, great writers in their own right. (Okay so some greats are as pedantic about how to write as an internet writing guru, the difference is that they have earned the right to be pedants.) It’s easier to say, “Don’t”, “never”, “always”, rather than “it depends”. “It depends” is situation specific, it requires thought, and knowledge, and skill, to say, because you have to be able to back it with reasons. The others require no thought. I could probably trawl the net right now and find twenty or thirty other “These are the Rules” posts on writing and, apart from the tone, you would find it difficult to tell them apart. That’s not thought through writing advice, that’s parroting fashionista BS to make yourself sound clever.

        (Hmmm this is turning a bit TL:DR so I’ll yank it to a close now)

        When a writer gets to stage three, Conscious Knowledge/Skill, then they can take what they need from posts like Ms Lamb’s. Simply put: hmmmm I better keep an eye on that sort of thing in my work.

        When a writer reaches Unconscious Knowledge/Skill, they don’t need to read posts about the nuts and bolts of writing. They probably won’t even write posts about the nuts and bolts of writing. They’ll just muse about how they write and why.

        • Nice last point. I noticed sometime ago that I would read a book on grammar and realize that there was nothing new, interesting or decent; I, basically, knew what I needed to know and found the content a pointless review of what I had internalized and gone beyond.

          I’m also finding the same thing with writing books. It is very much that feeling of “been there, done that, and got the t-shirt half a dozen times” – the advice given often makes my mind scream ‘newbie!’ Then again SOMETIMES – and I really mean very, very rarely – I will read something decent and see what I’m already doing as a technique (I knew it, used it, but didn’t know it’s name.) That’s about the only time I find something worthwhile.

          • I also think the same on reading some self-publishing blogs. I do the rounds a lot and enjoy the discussion, but the content is often a rehash of current issues or well thrashed themes. That said, I often find older writers have an interesting take on the present and learn a lot from their past experiences as well as from writers who have business or legal backgrounds. I guess I know a lot about publishing and writing, but there are tidbits here and there that are worth the effort of continuing my voyeuristic pleasures.

            • I figure I am (hopefully) somewhere between 3 and 4, nice place to be really. I like learning new writing techniques, and then destruction testing them for fun 🙂 , but I don’t have to think about stuff like POV and so forth.

              On self-publishing blogs: well if you are talking about writing, you do have to describe where you are coming from (I think that is the key, descriptive, not prescriptive) so every blog about writing will have the same subject matter on it somewhere. I must admit, if I had seen the OP out there on the net, I’d have clicked it, snorted, and closed it in the space of about 5 seconds.

              I think setting up Pillars (as suggested by the Book Designer) is a good idea. This is what I think about adverbs, this is what I think about said*isms, and so forth. That way you can just stick a link to that post/page whenever you mention them while musing about the more interesting stuff.

  21. I stopped reading when I got to her comment about exclamation points. Which sentence reads better?

    “Get out of here,” he yelled.

    OR

    “Get out of here!”

    I know which one I like better.

  22. The surprising thing to me in all this discussion is that no one has mentioned the missing apostrophe in the title of this post.

    • In fact there are TWO missing apostrophes. Here’s the second:
      “Kristen Lambs blog.”
      Plainly the angst over adverbs meant no one was looking for any other grammatical errors. LOL

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