There is a great quote from Stephen King in his book, "On Writing."

"I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops. To put it another way, they are like dandelions. If you have one on your lawn, it looks pretty and unique. If you fail to root it out, however, you find five the next day..... fifty the day after that..... and then, my brothers and sisters, your lawn is totally and completely and profligately covered with dandelions. By then you see them for the weeds they really are, but by then it's - GASP!! - too late."

In my fledgling writing days, I peppered my stories with adverbs. I was creating a world in my imagination and adverbs were enhancing my descriptive powers, I told myself. I thought writing was like a salad and it was good to heap on lots of colorful dialogue tags. I used sentences like "He admonished loudly" and "She proclaimed excitedly." I had the pepper shaker out and I poured it on until the reader couldn't see the salad anymore, just over-spiced roughage. 

The truth was I was afraid I wasn't expressing myself clearly. I thought I wasn't getting the picture across unless I used lots of spice. I had a dandelion salad recipe that would make Stephen King shudder.

What I had to learn was a good writer is invisible and shows the story rather than tells. Too many adverbs detract from the story and make the writer apparent. It was a valuable lesson learned.

Now I have a great salad recipe. Stephen King can come eat lunch at my house anytime. I even have some salad for his muse, but that's a blog for another day.
 


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