Trusting Your Writing by Christine Duncan

Safehouse2_cvr I have always been a fence sitter when I would see other authors go off about the overuse of adverbs. Sometimes, I would think, a good adverb was worth it.

However I was reading a book last night that made the point to me better than any lecture or article on the subject could. I won’t tell you the book or the author, because frankly, this person’s books outsell my stuff by a very big margin. And yet,….

In this mystery, the author would take pains to set something up. For instance, it showed the heroine and another character at a restaurant cracking jokes and having a good time. Then the author emphasized the action by restating it with dreaded ly words. (In this particular example it was something along the lines of– I thoroughly enjoyed our happy exchange.)

The author just showed that. It wasn’t necessary to tell me too. I knew that the character was enjoying her time with her friend.

I realize in the non-fiction writing world this is expected. Tell the reader what you’re going to say, tell them and then summarize what you said. In the fiction world, this just makes the action slow to a crawl and your reader goes to bed, yawning. Or worse, feeling patted on the head like a rather slow child, they throw the book against the wall in frustration.

So what’s the answer? Trust your writing. If you have set the scene, believe in yourself. As for emphasis with the use of adverbs, or restating so that people can’t miss the meaning?
Don’t do that! Readers aren’t dumb. They get it already.

After my recent post boasting that I have never put a book down due to the writing, I hesitate to admit it, but dang! I don’t know how I’m going to finish this one because this style is obviously going to continue throughout the book.

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One response to “Trusting Your Writing by Christine Duncan

  1. That is so true, Chris. I can’t tell you how many books I have stopped reading because the author was compelled to tell us what he or she had just shown us. We discussed that at length at The Blood Red Pencil blog some time ago.

    Looking forward to being your guest tomorrow.

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