Killing Adverbs

100_0068-angledandcroppedHave you killed any adverbs lately? It’s very cathartic. Just run a search for ‘ly’ and see what you find. Why am I doing this? I bought a book on copyediting to aid me in my quest to copyedit my own work. Deleting words ending in ‘ly’ or replacing them with stronger verbs, claimed the book, as good way to tighten up writing.

So a ran simple search on my Google Doc just to see how many ‘ly’ words I had used. I didn’t think there were that many because I know to avoid them. An eye-opening number of items returned in the search results. They had infiltrated my prose without my realizing it. Incensed, I went on a deletion spree.

You know what? It works. When I deleted the ‘ly’ word out of the sentence, it got the creative juices flowing. I started rewording first sentences and then whole paragraphs. And you know what? It’s addictive! I recommend you try it.

All this toning and tightening up the content means I need to go back and rerecord scene one again. I have the first five pages of Curse Breaker, Vol. 1: Enchanted memorized. Good thing I like the intro. I just wish my sister had lived long enough to read it. The previous beginning, which she had read, I moved to a later story arc.

Copyediting is a dark room and I’m stumbling about it trying to find my way. For now, I have adverbs to delete.

Three hundred and eighty more ‘ly’ words to assassinate. Stronger, tighter prose is in my sights. My finger pulls the trigger…

What tools do you carry around in your editing tool kit?
I’m still building mine out but I’d love to discover what you have in yours. 

4 thoughts on “Killing Adverbs

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