editing / writers tips / writing

Writer’s Tips #2: Ban Weak Adverbs

When you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong?

Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. I’ll point them out. They’ll come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments. Please add comments with your favorite editing fixes.

Adverbs support verbs. Adverbs help explain the action of the verb. What that means is, find a better verb. How do you do this?

  • Use Word’s Find function to locate all ly endings. Why ly? It’s because most adverbs end in -ly –quickly, softly, you get the idea.
  • Notice the verb it’s attached to.
  • Use your thesaurus, synonym finder, thesaurus.com or the right click on Word to find a better, more descriptive verb.
  • You can’t replace all adverbs, just many, and that will pick up the pace of your story, tighten it, make your readers happier

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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and creator of two technology training books for middle school. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything and Technology in Education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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