Thursday, January 15, 2009

Snow Day – Cold Day – Adverbs - It’s all Just too Much

Today we’re the coldest in the country. News flash! I don’t want to be the coldest in the country – I’m giving the award back. -37 overnight and warming to -33 this morning is just too much. The fact that I have quoted all these temperatures in Celsius is not making it any better. It just leads me to another question where's the cold day? There are snow days in other places where snow is more anomaly than norm, days where schools and businesses shut down. I’ve heard of them but not here, at least not in the city. Here apparently we’re tough and snow doesn’t stop us. I can accept that but what I want in exchange is a cold day. Call it a writing day, call it whatever you want but I want one. This morning I resented pulling on my winter boots, hunting for the industrial gloves and trekking out into a world whose edges are rock hard, biting ice. The cold is just like the excessive adverbs in the latest book, too much. Adverbs populate this story to the point of distraction and add unnecessary girth. It’s interesting that it is more the adverbs than the adjectives that are the problem. Actions that are clearly defined are than sealed with an unnecessary adverb. Or worse, there is no action, only the dratted adverb. In a story a rock hard, biting edge is often a good thing. Kill the coldly, tenderly, as much as possible, anything ending in ly because this story is overflowing with them. And that’s not all that’s wrong but that’s a subject for another post.

This book is not alone and that’s my latest bug - books that aren’t tight. As a writer I take note of another thing I should watch out for and as a reader I’m just disappointed. Excess words often become – like the weather – just too much.

What do you find too much?



Dog_geek said...

We've had a big cold snap here, and perhaps I shouldn't tell you, but a lot of the area schools were actually closed on Friday. (We didn't get off of work, though.)

Ryshia Kennie said...

It seems you have to have snow to get off work anywhere (okay not here- nothing short of the blizzard of the century closes work's door) Hope you're warmer now - our temp shot straight up the other day and the roads are getting mushy. Sigh - weather what can you do.