Thursday, July 7, 2011

Adverb Charades

Okay…it’s a book…three words…first word...sounds like...

Don’t you love charades? I kick butt at it. I guess it helps to have a husband who can read my mind. Wow, I’m off subject already—not a good start.

I was telling my critique partner Amy just the other day that when I come across a sneaky adverb—I like to play adverb charades. I don’t know if I explained it good enough to her—so I will try again.

How to play:

  1. When editing or writing and you come across an adverb you know you need to cut, you play—adverb charades.
  2. What actions can you put into your WIP to replace the adverb?
  3. Think about how you would act out the adverb in charades.
  4. Voila—writing magic.


  • Before adverb charades: “I’m not going,” Annie said stubbornly.
  • After adverb charades: Annie plopped all 40 pounds of her uncooperative self at my feet—shooting me a challenge with her eyes. “I’m not going,” she said.

I use this game all the time to fix my pesky adverbs. I like to think of adverbs kind of like place holders. When I'm in my first few drafts and I just want to write organically, I leave them in. But I always try and replace them with something that shows more.

Did any of that even make sense? It's been a long day :)



Ruth said...

Totally made sense. Fun and useful idea. I love it!

Kim said...

Great idea! As a newer writer, adverbs are one of those things I've relied on a little too heavily...

Sara Bulla said...

Perfect sense!

amber plante said...

Love this post :) Just gave it a shout-out and link on my blog -- thanks so much for sharing! Definitely going to try it!

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