EDITING 101: 09 – Cutting “ly” Adverbs and Enhancing Scenes… (LINKS RQD from 06)

In Part 9 of her Editing 101 series on the The Story Reading Ape’s blog, Susan Uttendorfsky talks about cutting “ly” adverbs from our manuscripts, which will enhance scenes and add to the word count. “Rover sniffed excitedly, hot on the trail” or “Rover threw his head in the air and barked as he turned toward me, indicating that I should follow. At my first step he tore off ahead, sniffing the ground and wagging his tail, hot on the trail of the killer”? Head over and try your hand at rewriting one of Susan’s easy-way-out sentences…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

Cutting “ly” Adverbs and Enhancing Scenes

Good morning, proactive, hands-on self-editors! Are you ready for your next task?

In EDITING 101: 03 ‘THAT’s the Problem in Revising’, we talked about cutting out individual words and decreasing word count. I told you then we’d talk further about more cutting, but in a way which would increase your word count. That’s what will happen when you cut out “ly” adverbs.

First off, why are “ly” adverbs so horrible? They’re not. Yes, you heard me right—they’re a perfectly legitimate part of English and their appropriate use is not prohibited. Let me state it another way:

  • It’s ok to use “ly” adverbs!

I think she’s really gone off the deep end this time, Chris. Honestly…

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