Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I've received the Queen of Quill award from Victoria Lindstrom this past week. Thank you, Victoria! Visit her blog HERE and see the sweet things she said about me, Julie Musil, Kristine Birch, Kriston Johnson, and Tanya Reimer.

Victoria is celebrating her first year of blogging--stop by and follow her!

Let's give her big writerly congrats, and boost her Followers from 19 to…??

I love to promote SPUNK & BITE: A writer's guide to bold, contemporary style by Arthur Plotnik. It's such a fun book! It instructs on how to dust off clichés and enliven tired prose. It gives writers ideas about how to make their writing unforgettable. One chapter in this book (chapter 6) is about adverbs. Here's my version/summary of it.

Adverbs tell us where, when, how, how much, why, etc. Most but not all end in -ly.

Adverbs usually TELL rather than SHOW. They often indicate lazy writing and can be replaced by a more colorful verb or phrase. Commonly overused in romance novels.

Cliché adverb telling: She ran speedily to the door.
Using a more active verb: She dashed to the door. OR She raced to the door.
Rephrasing completely: She reached the door in three seconds flat.

Cliché adverb telling: "Don't do that," Nick said angrily.
Using a more active verb: "Don't do that," Nick bellowed.
Rephrasing (SHOWING anger): "Don't do that." Nick slammed the door in her face.

Smart (-aleck?) locutions
More witty or clever usages of adverbs can be coined. Used this way, they can be humorous, oxymoronic, hyperbolic, ironic, and quite thought-provoking. They add to passages of prose in a non-cliché, informative manner. Here are a few of Mr. Plotnik's examples:

--engagingly demented
--eye-crossingly voluminous
--deliciously horrifying
--minutely entertaining
--woundingly beautiful
--awfully decent
--frightfully rich
--delightfully tacky

In these examples, the total meaning of the verb or sentence would be lost or altered if the adverb wasn't there. Sometimes adverbs ARE necessary and can be fresh! Mr. Plotnik warns, however, not to go overboard. He states: "Locutions that work too hard can grow as tiresome as facile ones." Easy oxymoronic constructions can turn cliché or undesirable in short order.

Can you visit or follow Victoria's blog to help celebrate her blog's 1st birthday?
Do you liberally pepper adverbs all over your prose?
Are you afraid to use adverbs, since the writerly community often frowns upon them?
Have you ever thought of using adverbs in a fresh, unique way?


  1. That's a lovely looking award, well done, you. And I love that wonderful use of adverbs.

  2. Thanks for the mention, Carol! All the ladies I mentioned are truly special. Their blog links are on the 2/4 post as well.

  3. I try to limit my use of adverbs but I love using them in the way the 2nd example illustrates - those are fun!

  4. I'll admit that adverbs scare me a bit. They're so frowned upon. Then I read a NY times best selling novel and he had three adverbs in the first paragraph (all of the ly variety).

    I think they get a bad rap, but should still be used sparingly.

  5. Congrats on your Award, a nice mid-week celebration :)

    And I use adverbs sparingly too. When they're done just right, they work. Otherwise, I'm careful with them.

  6. I went by and followed! I also use adverbs, sparingly. Sometimes, they are the right word to use. But not often.

  7. Thank you for the mention and thank you for bringing Spunk & Bite to my attention. From these examples I can see the book contains valuable information. I think I will check it out.

  8. Stopped in to wish her a Happy Blogging Birthday.

    Congrats on your award. And boogie, boogie, boogie.

  9. Congratulations on the award and thanks for the link to Victoria's blog. It's always nice to "meet" new people in the blogging universe.

    As for adverbs, I try to avoid them. I find that I can often craft better sentences without them, but this can take time and patience.

  10. I do love the challenge to find the prerfecr way to describe something without using an adverb... But when I'm writing a draft.... It's adverb city!
    Off to say hi to Victoria now.

  11. I don't have a problem with the occasional adverb. I love the examples above.

    Congrats on your cool award.

  12. Congratulations on the award! : ) Ha ha! Liked Mr. Plotnik's adverb usages.

  13. Great examples. This sounds like a book I need to read. I'm really really bad about using adverbs :)


  14. I loved the smart-alecky ones! I don't use them a ton in my ms, but I do in comments and blog posts! I feel like I can break more rules there. ;)

    Congrats on the award!

  15. Queen of the Quill Carol! Your promotions of SPUNK & BITE make me clangorously joyful.

    With wallopingly good wishes,

    Art Plotnik

    1. WOW! It's really you (I clicked your name link to check)! I'm flabbergastedly delighted. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for writing such a great and inspiring resource book. This isn't my first blogpost where I've plugged your book, actually! ;o)

  16. I do my best to cut adverbs, but I like the look and sound of those fresh adverbs.

    Congrats on the award.

  17. Woundingly beautiful--frightfully tacky. I like those!

    Congratulations on your award. I'll check out the new blog.

  18. Great post. I love these "engagingly demented" & "deliciously horrifying". I will have to check out this book. I've been looking for ways to freshen up my word choices.

  19. Congratulations on the award!

    I'm a little afraid to use adverbs now. I didn't know there was so much dislike of them until I started reading blog posts. :P

  20. I'm not afraid of them as long as they are not used lazily, as you say. I'll try to strengthen sentences that could be stronger, but sometimes a choice adverb is fantastic - like your examples!

  21. I like to think I'm engagingly demented. lol Sounds like a great blog title. I need to check out that book. Exactly what my writing needs. I've learned thru the years, that's what makes writers special... their ability to use/avoid these.

  22. I love those adverb examples. I never thought of using them like that, but it certainly puts a twist on things. I'll have to try it :)

    Congrats on your award. I'm headed over to Victoria's blog right now.

  23. Great post. I love how you SHOWED the use of adverbs without labeling one as right or wrong. We can see what we need, when we need it. And congrats on the award!


Hi, bloggy buddies! I respond to all comments via email if you have an address linked to your profile. Sorry, I have had to turn OFF comments from Anonymous users due to Spam.