The Writer’s Toolkit: How to Improve Your Writing in 30 Seconds

editing

Are you deep in the revision trenches? Try this.

Copy and paste a paragraph of your work into the free on-line program called EditMinion. It will take 10 seconds. Now look at the top line of the Minion analysis: Adverbs. If you have a 0 do a happy dance. If you have number between 0 and 3, you can still dance. If you have a larger number take a breath. Take what’s left of the 30 seconds and decide if you are going to hit delete.

What’s so bad about adverbs? Nothing. Adverbs like adjectives have their place. Adjectives clarify nouns. Adverbs clarify verbs. The problem is some adverbs don’t add anything we don’t already know.

Take this example: She had a sad face. The adjective sad tells us something about face we don’t already know. Not all faces are sad. Now try an adverb. She cried sadly. The adverb doesn’t tell us anything new. Delete sadly. So what do we do? Choose adverbs that add information, not ones that don’t.

If you want to learn more about adverbs I recommend reading: Writing Basics: How to Use Adverbs by Janice Hardy and Adverbs & Clichés in a Nutshell by Jessica Bell.

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