Author Topic: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 6 Ways to Reduce "-ly" Adverb Abuse  (Read 12030 times)  

Offline GrandmaBirdie

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GrandmaBirdie's Lists: 6 Ways to Reduce "-ly" Adverb Abuse
« on: December 05, 2016, 10:10:50 AM »
August 21: 6 Ways to Reduce "-ly" Adverb Abuse
Mark Twain found adverbs unexciting. So do readers. Energize your writing by pruning adverbs that end in "-ly." These steps will help.

August 14: 200 Ways to Say "Angry"
"Angry" is an innocuous word--unless it appears too often. These alternatives will help you avoid "angry" repetitions (and angry readers).

July 24: 100 Ways to Say "Sexy"
If you discuss with others what "sexy" means, you'll find varying opinions. That's part of what makes it a weak adjective. However, you have alternatives.

July 17: Over 150 Ways to Say "Put"
A writer can often replace "put" with a single verb that shows distinct action. However, "put" also appears in hundreds of phrases.

July 10: 85 Alternatives for Clenched Fists
How often do your characters clench their fists? A fist is a tightly closed hand with the fingers doubled into the palm. So do clenching fists make sense?

July 3: 120 Ways to Say "Itchy"
Are you frustrated because you can't find synonyms for "itchy"? You're not alone. "Itchy" is a ticklish word with few close relatives.

June 26: "Alright" vs. "All Right": Which is "Right"?
Authors have penned "alright" for more than 130 years. Common sense suggests that public acceptance should justify the existence of a word. Right?

June 19: 50 Alternatives for "Wink" in Writing
Do your characters wink so often that their eyes resemble flashing signal lights? A wink is a vague action that might be misconstrued. Try these alternatives.

June 12: Too Many Filter Words in Your Writing? 80 Alternatives
Why should you avoid filter words? Think of the last time you stood in line at a bank or grocery store. Did you enjoy the wait?

June 5: 4 Guidelines for Stacked Modifiers
Should you worry about adjective order or how many modifiers you include in a sequence? What about commas and hyphens? Read this article for the answers.

May 29: 100+ Ways to Say "Blush"
Why do people blush? Writers should know their characters' motivations. Then, their duty is to show readers the cause of each blush.

May 22: Too Many Sighs of Relief in Your Writing? 75 Alternatives
Do your protagonists sigh in relief or breathe sighs of relief on every second page? Maybe it's time for a rewrite.

May 15: 120 Ways to Say "Pout"
The usual replacement chosen by writers for "pout" is "pursed lips," an unoriginal phrase. Try these alternatives instead.

May 8: 8 Guidelines for Contractions in Writing
Contractions were invented centuries ago. They make our writing more personable. Beware that you don't develop contractionitis, though.

May 1: Why You Should Avoid "Feel" in Writing: 50 Alternatives
Whenever you write about a character feeling something, you distance readers from your narrative. Here's how to avoid the "feel" trap.

April 24: 100 Ways to Say "Nice"
"Nice" is an unpretentious word that doesn't pack a lot of punch. 100 alternatives.

April 17: 200 Ways to Say "Good"
Does "good" plague every second paragraph of your WIP? Try these alternatives.

April 10: 200 Ways to Say "Bad"
Overuse will transform "bad" into a pest that annoys readers worse than an army of angry ants. Try these alternatives.

April 3: 100 Ways to Say "Clear the Throat"
Have you ever shared space with someone who clears their throat every few minutes? Annoying. Fictional characters who do that will annoy readers too.

March 27: Over 200 Ways to Say "Shake the Head"
Shaking heads appear so often in fiction they make me shake my head in disbelief. Are you aware that in some areas of the world a headshake signals agreement?

March 20: Exclamation Points! Plague or Pleasure?
F. Scott Fitzgerald hated exclamation points. Mark Twain didn't like them either. Elmore Leonard recommended only two or three per novel. What about you?

March 13: Em Dash Abuse--It Ain't Pretty
How often do you insert em dashes in your writing? Although occasional occurrences might clarify or emphasize, too many annoy readers and editors.

December 5: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
Why emphasize hands? The way people take care of them is a reflection of personality and lifestyle. Hands should suit your characters.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 06:53:14 AM by GrandmaBirdie »

Offline EmmaS

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Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2016, 11:49:42 AM »
That was oddly fun to read! Just a few of those words were able to conjure images and ideas for my WIP. Thanks. :D

Offline GrandmaBirdie

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Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2016, 12:17:15 PM »
That was oddly fun to read! Just a few of those words were able to conjure images and ideas for my WIP. Thanks. :D

 :D I'm glad you found it useful, Emma. Any other words or concepts you'd like me to research?

Offline EmmaS

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Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2016, 02:58:35 PM »
Alternatives to nodding. My characters love to nod, and I would love for them to STOP. ;D There are so many other ways to convey that someone is listening or paying attention or agrees, but I go blank when I'm writing/editing sometimes.

Offline Nancy_G

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Offline GrandmaBirdie

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Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2016, 08:20:35 PM »
Alternatives to nodding. My characters love to nod, and I would love for them to STOP. ;D There are so many other ways to convey that someone is listening or paying attention or agrees, but I go blank when I'm writing/editing sometimes.

Your wish is my command, Emma.

Other Ways to Say "Nodded"
« Last Edit: December 17, 2016, 02:16:46 PM by GrandmaBirdie »

Offline GrandmaBirdie

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Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2016, 05:52:26 AM »
Warning! Writing prompts ahead.

Visuals are often a writer's first consideration. We might describe dimensions, shape, and color. Sound could come next, followed by scent. We might assign taste attributes to food, teardrops, and lipstick.

Sadly, many writers undervalue texture.

Over 400 Adjectives to Describe Texture

Offline Anna Drake

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Re: Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2016, 08:43:44 AM »
Thank you very much. These are excellent tips.


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Offline Word Fan

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Re: Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2016, 09:39:01 AM »
When I was practice writing in kindergarten we dealt with texture. We had texture in our writing paper. It was that lined yellow paper with little wood chips in it.

(Sorry. I couldn't resist.  :-[  True story, though.)

Offline FFJ

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Re: Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2016, 01:10:57 PM »
Thanks Kathy! I'm a fan of your helpful posts and visit your blog whenever I get the chance!

Continued success.

Offline GrandmaBirdie

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Re: Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2016, 01:49:18 PM »
Thanks Kathy! I'm a fan of your helpful posts and visit your blog whenever I get the chance!

Continued success.

Thank you very much. These are excellent tips.

Thanks! Please let me know if you have a word wishlist, and I'll add your suggestions to my to-do file.

Offline Anna Drake

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Re: Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2016, 02:03:45 PM »
Thanks Kathy! I'm a fan of your helpful posts and visit your blog whenever I get the chance!

I agree. I will be visiting the blog again, and while there earlier today, I signed up to be notified of new posts. Thanks again, Kathy. Good stuff.


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Offline Christopher Bunn

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Re: Do you undervalue texture in your writing?
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2016, 09:30:24 AM »
This topic reminds me of an experiment we did in school. I think it was around Halloween time. The teacher had closed boxes filled with different substances. The boxes had a small hole in them that allowed us to put our hands in but not see what was inside. We had to guess the contents by what we felt.

Pretty interesting. Very easy to be wrong.

Offline Ethan Jones

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Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2016, 02:12:32 PM »
Wonderful lists, thanks for sharing.
Blessings,
E

Offline GrandmaBirdie

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Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2016, 02:17:48 PM »
Wonderful lists, thanks for sharing.
Blessings,
E

My pleasure, Ethan. Nice to meet another fellow Canuck here.

Offline Carol (was Dara)

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Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2016, 02:24:31 PM »
I could always use some new ways to scowl.  ;D

Offline GrandmaBirdie

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Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2016, 02:32:10 PM »
I could always use some new ways to scowl.  ;D

You're the second KBoarder who has asked. Guess it will have to move to the top of my priority list.

Offline GrandmaBirdie

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Re: Over 400 Words to Describe Hands
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2017, 06:22:08 AM »
I could always use some new ways to scowl.  ;D

Hi, Carol. Happy New Year!

Today's post is Over 200 Ways to Say "Frown" or "Scowl."

Offline GrandmaBirdie

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No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2017, 06:27:05 AM »
How often do your characters frown or scowl? Are you looking for alternatives?

Over 200 Ways to Say "Frown" or "Scowl."

Offline Mark E. Cooper

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Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2017, 06:29:29 AM »
How often do your characters frown or scowl? Are you looking for alternatives?

Over 200 Ways to Say "Frown" or "Scowl."

Smile
laugh
cry
smirk
grimace
grin
yawn
quirk eyebrow
bite lip
wink
roll eyes


http://www.dailywritingtips.com/100-words-for-facial-expressions/

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Offline Sean Sweeney

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Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2017, 06:51:22 AM »
Grimace, the corners of her/his mouth tumbled.....
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Offline Graeme Hague

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Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2017, 05:00:12 PM »
Grimace, the corners of her/his mouth tumbled.....

Sorry, no offense to you Sean, but this is one of my pet hates when someone's lips "curl up at the corner" or their "brow furrowed". A simple "smiled" or "frowned" is all that's needed.
As for the OP, if you're referencing characters' facial expressions so often that you're now struggling for alternatives, you're using that device far too much. And your dialogue should be portraying that emotion anyway.
As an editor I see authors constantly, repetitively, describing frowning, smiling, nodding and shrugging.
Try saving your MS as a nonsense file that you can fiddle with, then do a Find and Replace with something like Find "smile" and Replace with "smole". The process will display how many times the edit is applied. It's a way of discovering how often you're using any word or phrase and you'll probably get a nasty fright.
Good luck with it.
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Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2017, 06:18:19 PM »
[quote author=Graeme Hague link=topic=245971.msg3426336#.
As for the OP, if you're referencing characters' facial expressions so often that you're now struggling for alternatives, you're using that device far too much. And your dialogue should be portraying that emotion anyway.
[/quote]

You made a very good point, but the challenge I find is the need to add beats to break up the dialogues so half the page doesn't read like a script. I've in fact intentionally observed people in conversations in real life. Interestingly, in real life people don't move or gesture that much when they're talking. If they're sitting in Starbucks talking they just talk for a long time and nothing much happens except their facial expressions (other than eating or drinking beverages). But in fiction we have to find things to break up the dialogues, so it's not all about portraying emotions.

Offline kathrynoh

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Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2017, 07:16:55 PM »
It depends a lot on the weight of the emotion. If it's just to break up dialogue (and coffee shop scenes in particular are hard I find), then just a frown or a smile. If the emotion has more importance then it needs something more than just a frown. What are they doing with their hands and the rest of their bodies?

Tbh, I use people shredding up paper napkins way too much in cafe scenes :) I think because it's a personal habit.