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Jan's Writing Basics #2: Beware of Adjectives and Adverbs

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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VibrantC
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Re: Jan's Writing Basics #2: Beware of Adjectives and Adverb

Postby VibrantC » Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:02 pm

I'm not sure this job is worth the exhaustion, Jan thought as she fumbled with her keys.

She stumbled into the house and kicked off her shoes, watching them fall. Her shoulders slumped further as thoughts of the dinner she'd have to prepare came to her.

Starting toward the kitchen, she focused on making a mental inventory of the contents of her fridge.

We'll start with a Coke. She thought perking up, Ooh, and leftover cake! Who needs dinner any – “Ow!” her thoughts were interrupted by agony shooting through her foot.

Examining the area she found a single Lego, which seemed to mock her from its nest deep in the flesh of her heel.

Jan sighed, smiling despite herself as memories of the towers she and her nephew had built here just the other day eased her discomfort.

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Re: Jan's Writing Basics #2: Beware of Adjectives and Adverb

Postby glorybee » Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:43 pm

Carol, you've done a fine job here! I've got no critique for you whatsoever; keep doing what you're doing.
Jan Ackerson -- Follow me, friend me, give me a wave!
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Re: Jan's Writing Basics #2: Beware of Adjectives and Adverb

Postby kafrak » Fri Mar 11, 2016 3:43 am

Jan’s Writing Basics
Adjectives and Adverbs
HOMEWORK

Exhausted, weary, and worn out, Jan walked tiredly into her house at the end of a long, seemingly endless day at work. She slipped off her dark ebony shoes at the door and plodded unenthusiastically toward the kitchen. All she wanted was an icy cold soda and something sugary saccharine—maybe there was leftover cake in the shiny stainless steel refrigerator.

“Ow!” she exclaimed loudly. She lifted up her left foot to examine curiously what had caused her such sudden, sharp, acute pain. Embedded firmly in the tender flesh of her heel was one minuscule Lego, left over from her young nephew’s visit the previous day before.



Evening was fast approaching and Jan welcomed it after a seemingly unending day. She stifled a yawn as she trudged into her house. Without bothering to turn on the lights, she slipped off her ebony shoes just inside the door and plodded barefoot into the kitchen. Her dry mouth begged for a cold soda and her tired body urged her to see if there was any leftover chocolate cake. Tonight would be desert first or she would not have the energy to fix dinner. The stainless steel refrigerator was her newest appliance and gave no hint about the soda or cake.

Her foot came down and landed firmly on the floor not avoiding a small, unnoticed item that dug painfully into the tender flesh of her heel.

“OW!” she cried and hopped to the dining chair pushed under the table. Once she was in the chair she pulled up her foot and studied its bottom. She found a minuscule Lego left over from her nephew’s visit the previous day.




Exhausted, weary, and worn out - this is saying the same thing three times over. Instead of emphasizing how tired Jan was, it creates a sense of boredom. The over use is continued with the adverb "tiredly" Better to say "Covering yet another yawn, Jan trudged into her house after an impossibly long day at work

plodded unenthusiastically is more over use. She plodded is sufficient to set the tone and maintains reader interest.

previous day before. this is downright confusing before suggests something more is coming. Either use " previous day" or "the day before."

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Re: Jan's Writing Basics #2: Beware of Adjectives and Adverb

Postby glorybee » Fri Mar 11, 2016 7:57 am

Kafrak, your version has some new material that I enjoyed (like the 'Tonight would be dessert first...' line). Your observations about what to omit are spot on.

However, I think your version could still be trimmed a bit. There's no reason to keep the 'ebony' of her shoes--for such a common setting and event, 'ebony' is a bit of overkill. In fact, the color of the shoes isn't necessary at all. Neither is the material of the refrigerator.

Similarly, even though 'small' and 'unnoticed' don't mean the same thing, they're not both necessary. In general, if you've used two adjectives to describe something, check to see if one can be omitted. In this case, it's obvious that she didn't notice the Lego, so 'unnoticed' can go.

So can 'painfully,' since 'dug into her heel' infers pain.

There are more places where you could trim--I'd encourage you to combine this lesson with the 'tight writing' lesson, and see if you could reduce the length of your passage by 10 - 20%.

Your writing is good--with a little polish, it could be excellent.
Jan Ackerson -- Follow me, friend me, give me a wave!
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Re: Jan's Writing Basics #2: Beware of Adjectives and Adverb

Postby kafrak » Fri Mar 11, 2016 8:16 am

I will definitely work on this. I have gotten 3 honorable mentions in the beginner's category, but have yet to place. I need to figure out where I am lacking. I know I tend to get wordy. I so appreciate these lessons and your input! :thankssign

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