Adverbs suck because they are like nuclear energy, an answer to some problems, but also a weapon of mass destruction. Here, let me explain my thought by example.
Jimmy ran down the hallway.
Okay, in the previous sentence we learn something interesting about Jimmy, he was running. The sentence serves its purpose by conveying essential information about the character, namely that he is running. In a vacuum this is fine, but perhaps there is more going on here, you know, subtext. So, in the hands of our nameless author this becomes an opportunity to insert something subtle into the scene.
Jimmy ran plaintively down the hallway.
There, now it's all literary.Of course, the problem with something like that is I, the reader, have no idea what in the world to conjure up as a mental image now. What does plaintive running look like? I think the mythical writer is trying to be more descriptive, more precise, but instead, they confused matters. Adverbs, they may not suck in of themselves, but they really go a long way towards making things worse when used indiscriminately.
How should that sentence read? Well, I have no idea really. If I were to try my hand at writing a sentence that told that someone was sad, and running, then I would probably expand it into two sentences.Like this:
Jimmy tore down the hallway as fast as he could, his arms and legs pumping like pistons in a revving engine. He blinked back his tears and tried not to wonder if he was too late.
Granted, I've never been much of a wordsmith, and if I were to really try to improve on it I'd probably drop the simile altogether and maybe throw something else out there about his heart racing or something.
But the point is that single word, plaintively, sought to convey a lot of information but made things worse - probably have been better off if it were just nixed. If my melodramatic version was too much, then I'd rather just say 'he ran'. I'd rather be a bit too bland than over the top.
But like many powerful weapons, adverbs are enticing, and they hold so much power that it can be hard to resist. Then they blow up and you've irradiated your whole story. So, like gun safety, sometimes it's just easier to say to avoid them altogether instead of using them wisely.
That's my take anyway. Do with it what you will.
|Adverbs again? Don't make me do more math.|