Thursday, June 20, 2013

Adverbs & Clichés in a Nutshell by Jessica Bell


Writers constantly have rules thrown at them left, right, and center. Show, don’t tell! Stop using so many dialogue tags! More sensory detail! More tension! Speed up the pace! Yada yada yada ... it can become overwhelming, yes? I used to feel overwhelmed by it all too. In fact, I still do sometimes. It’s hard enough to get the words on the page, let alone consider how to put them there.

My own struggles have led me to write this series of pocket-sized writing guides. So you can learn to hone your craft in bite-sized, manageable pieces. But please keep in mind, their purpose is to inspire you to become better at your craft. To teach you how to grow as a writer. They will not tell you how to write. They will not preach writing rules and styles to you. But they will help you realize that you can, little by little, end up with a work of fiction as unique as your own soul (whether you regard your soul as a spiritual entity, or nobility of temperament, in this context it is one and the same).

I like to think of a writer’s “voice” as the soul of their imagination. If you stay true to your soul, you will produce unique fiction. There is no doubt about it. Because everyone has his or her own soul. No other soul in this world will ever possess the exact same qualities as yours. So when you are seeking writing advice, always take into account that the advice is coming from writers with their own unique souls, too. Be inspired by them. Feel motivated. But do not feel the need to be like them. Trying to write like somebody else is (bar writing exercises), in my opinion, the biggest disservice you can do for your work.

In the first book of the Writing in a Nutshell Series, I focused on demonstrating how to transition “telling” into “showing.” In this book, I deal with another of the most common criticisms aspiring writers face: to absolutely avoid adverbs and clichés like the plague. But see, right now, I just used one of each. And at the beginning of the Introduction, I used a few too. Because they come naturally, and we frequently utilize them in everyday speech. But in fiction, too many adverbs and clichés weaken your prose. It’s considered “lazy writing,” because it means we don’t have to show what’s happening.

If your manuscript has too many adverbs and clichés, it most likely means that the emotion you felt while writing it is not going to translate to the reader in the same way. Never underestimate the weakness of adverbs and clichés. You’d be surprised how vivid your writing will become once they are subverted.

Sure, clichés exist because they stem from things many of us experience in real life, and you may argue that they are “relatable,” so why not use them? But the way in which one experiences things isn’t always the same. As writers, it’s your duty to make readers experience your story from a unique point of view. Your point of view.

Have you been told you use too many adverbs and clichés in your writing? Want to remedy it? Then this is the book for you!

In Adverbs & Clichés in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Subversions of Adverbs & Clichés into Gourmet Imagery, you will find thirty-four examples of prose which clearly demonstrate how to turn those pesky adverbs and clichés into vivid and unique imagery. Extra writing prompts are also provided at the end of the book.

Not only is this pocket guide an excellent learning tool for aspiring writers, but it is a user-friendly and simple solution to honing your craft no matter how broad your writing experience. With the convenient hyper-linked Contents Page and Indexes you can toggle backward and forward from different examples with ease. Use your e-reader’s highlighting and note-taking tools to keep notes as you read, and/or record your story ideas, anywhere, anytime.

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Genre – NonFiction

Rating – G

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