Adverbs or Bad Verbs?

by Sera James

This was a difficult concept for me to grasp, because there are a lot of adverbs I like and it doesn’t seem as if writing a sentence I enjoy could be wrong. And it’s not wrong, per se; it’s just flabby. The older I get, the more I defer to clean, tight prose. It moves fast–or flies, or zooms, or soars, or jaunts–and is more articulate.

So, as you proofread, keep an eye out for adverbs. You may be surprised by how many you actually use. When you spot one, try to conjure another, more complex verb which would encompass the adverb.

Try it out and see how it feels for yourself. Perhaps your hero doesn’t laugh mirthlessly. Perhaps he chuckle-groans. Maybe your villain does not just slowly follow a path. Perhaps she stalks. Or trails? Crouches and slithers? Have fun with it. You may end up creating some new sentences–or verbs–altogether.