Adverbs: Devils or just demonized?

Discuss the use of adverbs in writing. Stephen King said to use adverbs as $100 bills and most writing adages say to exclude them in most cases. When might you want to use adverbs? Are all adverbs badverbs?

  • In screenwriting, adverbs are discouraged in favour or strong verbs that don't require any beefing up, in order to create a quicker, more streamlined read. I feel this is a tip which writers of almost any medium could adopt, with no detrimental effect to their own writing - after all, who doesn't want a quick, slick read? (Unless the writer's intention is exactly the opposite, in which case they must ignore the above!). This sounds like a fascinating, unusual topic. – J.P. Shiel 5 years ago
  • From a playwriting perspective, parenthetical adverbs are often found prefacing lines of dialogue to reduce ambiguity in the author's intended tone. [For example. . . Tom: (angrily) Get back here, I'm not done talking to you!] Often, editors and dramaturgs will recommend that you cut down on using adverbs in this way - if not getting rid of them altogether - because they limit the potential for actors and directors to interpret the lines and emotions for themselves, from which they might discover more nuanced complexities lurking within the subtext. I imagine the rules are very different when writing a novel or short story, since those aren't mediated forms. Once a novel is written, it doesn't require anyone (such as actors and directors) to reinterpret it; it's a complete finished product made for a private discourse with its reader. – ProtoCanon 5 years ago

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