Tuesday Tip on Revision: Adjectives and Adverbs

You know how you’re in the middle of a conversation, or maybe a hot bath, and you have that moment when your eyes glaze over, or you drop the soap, because you’ve just had THE MOST BRILLIANT THOUGHT EVER?

That’s how I ended up in the latest revision mode of my YA Southern, paranormal, comic, contemporary mystery. But this time, I had another brilliant thought. I would read, actually read, one of the writing craft books sitting upon my shelves. To wit, The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman.

So, I blew the dust off it (Okay, it’s been sitting there for a couple years) and got to work. And as soon as I got to Chapter Two: Adjectives and Adverbs, I realized that, as long as I was revising, I might as well consider a few of Mr. Lukeman’s suggestions:
* Cut back on adjectives and adverbs, especially in those spots where you might have a string of ’em.
*Replace tired, cliche adjectives and adverbs with sparkly and unusual ones.
* Make your verbs and nouns stronger so they can stand alone.
Well, I applied a couple of the end-of-chapter exercises to my first chapter and you know what? It’s a better chapter, even if I do say so myself. So now I’m deep into the brilliant idea revision, but I’m also trying to keep in mind the tips from The First Five Pages.

Thanks, Mr. Lukeman. If my newly revised manuscript stays out of the rejection pile this time around, I owe you a big bouquet. (Make that an enormous bouquet!)

8 thoughts on “Tuesday Tip on Revision: Adjectives and Adverbs

  1. You mentioned this book sometime ago (maybe at one of our meetings?) and I, too, have been forced to dust off my copy. I bought it, set it on my desk, and have been staring at it every day for about two years. LOL Time to get busy.

  2. Hi Cathy,Good luck with your manuscript. I've never read a YA Southern, comic, paranormal, mystery before, but I'll definitely buy a copy of yours.Oh, and I have that same book on my shelf. Collecting dust no doubt.Donna

  3. Donna, I could probably fit a few more descriptives in there, but I'm trying to cut down on the adjectives! (P.S. I'd read your book, too!)Good point, Vicky. It's tough to hear that your entire manuscript's based on the first five pages…or sometimes just the first paragraph! But I suppose if you can't write a good beginning…You, too, Gail? We're in good company, at least. 😉

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