Tag Archives | breaking rules

The Joy of Adverbs

Awhile back I wrote a post called The Rule of Threes.

In re-pondering this again recently, the thought occurs that I'm not generally much of a rule follower.  In fact, you might even accurately describe me as a person who is incapable of following rules.  I break them like crazy in real life (which is why I have to free-lance; most jobs require employees who follow rules) and I break them in writing.

Here's just one example:  I use adverbs. 

There, I've said it.

I can hear your shocked gasps and the urgent whispering amongst you.  But it has to be said.  I use adverbs.  I use adverbs joyously, lushly, over-the-toply.  I like adverbs.  And I really don't want anyone telling me that I shouldn't use them.

Truthfully, mostly I edit them out after sprinkling my prose with them liberally (except in this post).  Why?  Because I want to follow the rules?  No, I edit them out because in re-reading my work I can see it will be stronger without them.  I'm doing it because I want to and not because someone told me to.

So when I leave adverbs in its for a reason.  Case in point: the lead character in my novel is an over-the-top sort of person who dramatizes and exaggerates everything.  For her, using adverbs in speech and thought pattern is as natural as a bird singing.  So she spouts adverbs prolifically.

The point here is that I know the rule against using adverbs (don't ask me to explain it, though) and I've internalized it so that I now can break the rule.  I am in a place where I can break rules with abandon.

Which is exactly where I like to be.

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