How to Take Charge of Your Adverbs

Cut the Junk!

As writers, we love our words, don’t we? Sometimes we are so attached to them that we think we can’t kill cut them. We may not ever have words as good as those again…


We are story tellers, so our main question should be “how can we best tell our story?”

We have to “trust the soup” as Steven Pressfield says in Do The Work.

Cut the weak words, cut the fluff, cut what doesn’t work!

Trust that you’ll have better words, a better story.

Rely on tone to set the mood for your reader. Choose strong nouns, verbs and adjectives to tell your story.

Cut the adverbs. See what happens.

If you’ve committed to making your writing stronger, what have been the results? I’d love for you to share in the comments!


Two and a half weeks left for the Goodreads Giveaway for the signed paperback copy of Josephine: Red Dirt & Whiskey
photo credit: Lawrence Whittemore via photopin cc

About melindamcguirewrites

The young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. ------ William Faulkner, Nobel Prize Speech, Stockholm, 1950
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2 Responses to How to Take Charge of Your Adverbs

  1. DM says:

    Excellent post. It’s so true. Sometimes writers try to overexplain every and any action. Cutting out the useless words actually makes a story flow better.

  2. On my first draft of anything, if I cut out all the week and/or unnecessary words, there’d be nothing there. I have found that cutting out superlatives and simply explaining the scene or character clearly works better and makes the writer seem less pretentious.

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