Grey with occasional thunder. As much a description of my mood as of my day.

A good weekend at the page, despite a personal setback at the end of Friday. Won’t talk about it here. Two days of “where did the hours go?”; of living breathless in the moment; of a remarkable call with Claudia Ricci (whose novel, “Seeing Red” is being serialized on The Huffington Post.) The weekend pretty much scrubbed any thoughts of blogosphere from my head. Except for this post that’s been clankin’ around in there for some time: The -ly word.

Damned adverbs. I suspect that most writers have bits of cranky resistance circulating through their emotional bloodstreams. Adverbs are mine.

The Adverb, she said pensively. The crutch. The reminder to the reader that he/she is observing from the outside, not experiencing from within. Adverbs. Don’t get me started.

When I went back to look over my first novel—and it was, in so many ways, a first novel—I found many those hated things there. Look at the latest work, and one finds them almost not at all.

When did the changeover happen? When did I discover my allergy to things –ly? I don’t know. I do know that the closer I came to the ability in the writing to cast a statement, a mood, an observation in the shapes and colors of the emotion, the less I found that I needed to tack those little bits of chaff in among the grain. If I couldn’t demonstrate a feeling, then the adverb became the cheap trick—the lazy out—to tell what I couldn’t show.

The adverb is the ketchup on haute cuisine. The white socks with the tuxedo. The mix of stripes and plaids. The fart in the elevator. The snore from the lover. It is rarely anything but an obvious, awkward, graceless interruption in the narrative flow.

Flee the –ly Word. Save yourselves.

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