Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Freebie: The Adverbectomy

Until I read Stephen King's book, On Writing,  I had never considered any parts of speech off-limits. Oh, sure, I knew it was bad form for subjects and verbs to disagree, and for prepositions to have the last word, but adverbs? Never gave them a second thought.

But after reading On Writing, I never looked at them the same way again.

Reading Lisa Buffaloe's blog post, "The Great Adverbectomy" earlier this month reminded me of how far I've come in my journey as a writer. Even better, it made me smile.

Lisa was gracious enough to allow me to re-post her blog here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. And, I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge author Loree Lough whose Facebook post pointed me in the direction of The Great Adverbectomy.

Have a wonderfully, tremendously, fantastically fabulous weekend!

The Great Adverbectomy
Lisa BuffaloeWhen I first began writing, I wrote completely without guidance, operating my keyboard without training wheels. After several manuscript rejections, I found much-needed help through a critique group. My first writing mentor addressed a problem. Since I had enough adverbs in my first paragraph to give an editor a heart attack, they were removed. Gasp. Wheeze. Whimper. I loved my adverbs. They were astonishingly, beguilingly, charmingly, alluringly wonderful.

After recovering from shock, I went home and held a small service in their honor. Lovingly, longingly, I took one final look at my Word document before starting my search.

Weepingly, I sought for any word ending in the dreaded, tell-tale “ly” and my pages lit up like a Christmas tree. Adverbs were everywhere! No longer did they look as innocent. Goodness they had infiltrated a perfectly, decently written document and created something abnormally, agonizingly, alarmingly irritating. My work headed to the verb gym for a total manuscript makeover. Wow, who knew training could create such a lean document. Yes, the great adverbectomy was a touch painful. And although at times I may gaze longingly at my adverb buddies, in reality my manuscripts are better without them.

In the same way, there are things in our lives that we think are okay, but in reality hinder our growth as Christians. Or perhaps there are things that cause us to stumble and sin. God provides the manual – His Holy Word – to guide us along our path. We don’t get to pick and choose what we think works best; we need to remember God is the creator and He has the final word on how best to live our lives.

Talk to God and ask Him to show you anything that might be holding you back. And even if it’s a touch painful to remove, God wants to make sure you are the best you.

Heavenly Father show me anything in my life that is holding me back from being the best me You want me to be.


  1. I think all of our years in undergraduate schools - particularly k-12 - teach us how important it is to elaborate using adverbs and adjectives. Then you get to the "real world" and suddenly they're off limits.

    One of my professors loves to say we can't write without adverbs. They tell when, where, why, or how, and how you can write without that information? It's only the -ly words you have to watch out for... the rest you can sneak in at will. :)

  2. They are especially (tee hee) annoying when paired with dialogue tags. Thanks for visiting, Heidi, and for your comment. Your professor makes a good point!