How Clever!

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"..a heavy traffic problem or the congested traffic situation. Besides being stuffy, these nouns are vauge" (9)

Oh, how witty. I suppose this is the kind of writing we aren't supposed to include in our articles though.

"Mark Twain, who also had writing experience (common knowledge for writers), once told a young correspondent, 'When you catch an adjective, kill it.' He softened that a litte: 'No, I don't mean that utterly, but kill most of them-- then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together, they give strength when wide apart" (13).

This is a very important lesson for all writers: creative, ournalistic, whatever. Take this piece of advice to heart. When I was young, I loaded my stories and work with those "ly" words. As I reread the work, they became the enemy. It was horrible, overdone, unnecessary and made my work look bloated. It is possible to describe scenery, people, events without them.

At the same time, don't cut them all out. (The next phase I went through.) There are some places they are useful, even necessary. It's a fine line though. Adjectives can make or break as story/written work.

OSR

2 Comments

Wendy Scott said:

I liked how you brought in a personal experience. I really like Mark Twain. The statment that you used with the adjectives I am the same way. I was reading the assigned text and saying to my self ive definately done this before or used the such.

April Minerd said:

Love the Mark Twain quote. I've got another you might like, a favorite of mine:
God only exhibits his thunder and lightning at intervals, and so they always command attention. These are God's adjectives. You thunder and lightning too much; the reader ceases to get under the bed, by and by.
I believe he was critiquing a friend’s work when he wrote this. Apparently, he's a man serious about his adjectives. He knew what he was talking about, though. Just as you said, it is an important lesson for all writers.

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