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Important Tip #1About Using -ly Adverbs

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

In between posting old work and revising it, I will be adding quick tips for anyone looking for a smidgeon of advice. You might be sitting there thinking you’ve heard it all, and maybe you have. But hopefully I will at the very least put it out there in a fresh way.

Today’s tip: Go through your entire manuscript and look for -ly adverbs. Most of them, I guarantee, can go. I’ve heard that using -ly adverbs in “lazy writing.” I’ve heard that they don’t do much to move the story along. That they can be cumbersome. My opinion? Rewriting the sentence can do amazing things to your hard-worked piece. Why settle for hot dogs and baked beans when you can have blackened catfish over seasoned rice pilaf? Maybe you like picnic foods, but leaner is better for your overall health, and the spiciness adds a nice kick.

Okay, enough of the food analogies. I had cereal for dinner, and discussing tastier foods makes my mouth water. But you get the picture. Here’s an example:

She licked her lips hungrily. That catfish sure smelled tempting. Sadly, she pushed the thought away. Unfortunately, all she had was a mere five dollars to her name. Hot dog it was. “I’ll take the hot dog,” she said harshly.


Her stomach rumbled, ever the traitor. But man, that catfish sure smelled tempting. She slipped her hand into her pocket and pulled out her last five dollars. Her eyes brimmed with tears as she read the prices on the menu. God, what she’d do for a taste of fish for once. Slapping the money on the table, she snarled, “I’ll take the hot dog.”

Okay, it’s not Pushcart Prize material, but it gets my point across. The revision should be the one you’d rather read. I made you feel her agony. I didn’t have to tell you what her problem was, you could read it between the lines. And all because I was able to get rid of the -ly adverbs. Pretty nifty, huh? Try it in your work and see if you don’t agree.

Next time, I’ll give you a tip that will really knock your socks off! You know, once I come up with an idea of what it will be…anyhow, stay tuned.

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