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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 8 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 8 years ago

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Latest Comments

The best stories are made out of heroes and plots that totally destroy this mould. It has it’s places, but it is an old concept ripe for refinement and change.

Exploring The Hero's Journey: A Writer's Guide

Interesting look at the actual semantics of writing. Too often we get lost in the fluff of it.

The Act of Writing: A Semantic Exploration

I encourage people who strive to write good fanfiction to instead strive to write good fiction first. We live in a world of iterators, not creators. Try to stand out from the pack.

Fanficton: A Practice in the Art of Storytelling