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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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glorybee
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Postby glorybee » Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:52 pm

Thanks, Cat!

Anything you'd care to add about adjectives and adverbs?
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Postby OldManRivers » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:17 pm

Sorry, Jan, about the red herring.

I have always been taught to find the perfect verb that allows you to dispense with the adverb. Does this apply also with nouns and adjectives?
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Postby CatLin » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:21 pm

glorybee wrote:Thanks, Cat!

Anything you'd care to add about adjectives and adverbs?


Only that I've been working harder to eliminate as many as possible. :D I used to love adjectives and adverbs, but FaithWriters has taught me how to write better by using less.

And a question, or possibly a suggestion for a future lesson -

Explain a "gerund" and why it's a no-no to start a sentence with one.
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Postby kpwrite » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:25 pm

glorybee wrote:Kristi, I'm going to give you the gold star--you've gotten rid of all the unnecessary stuff (except for 'unenthusiastically', but that's a style choice), but kept enough interesting words to make this a pretty engaging passage. Well done!


Thanks, Jan!
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Postby glorybee » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:27 pm

Cat, gerunds are all Ann's...pop over to her class and leave the suggestion, wouldja please?

Thanks!
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Jan's Class

Postby browniesgal » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:45 pm

:D This is fun. Here goes:

Bone tired, Jan shuffled through her door, slipped off her shoes, and thanked God her day was over. Her thoughts had drifted to the rewards in the 'fridge, a diet soda and chocolate cake perhaps.

"Ow!" what did I step on? Pain shot through her heel. She raised her foot and saw the little red offender, a Lego, left from yesterday by my nephew, no doubt.

All of the opening words:Exhausted, weary, worn out, tiredly -redundent

long, seemingly, endless -long or endless better

unenthusiastically -not needed if she is plodding

icy, cold not needed if in 'fridge

Description of refridgerator not needed

Ow! was enough to explain the loud exclamation

curiously, sharp, acute-not needed

the previous, day before- redundent not needed

firmly,tender,miniscule also not needed

Well, I tried. Thanks Jan, Ruth Brown

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Postby Ms. Barbie » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:58 pm

I have not read the other posts- yet. So here goes:

Exhausted from the long, stressful day at work, she dragged her weary body into her home and slumped against the door. Peeling off expensive black heals from her swollen feet; Jan limped to the kitchen, and opened the door to the fridge. Her throat was parched, and all she wanted was a long drink of cold Diet Coke, and something sweet and chocolaty to eat.
“Ouch!” she yelled out. Something bit her bare foot.
Jan leaned against the table and painfully lifted up her foot to examine the damage.
“Ow!’Jan plucked a small yellow Lego from her heal
“Darn that nephew of mine! I thought we had put away all those toys yesterday.”
Last edited by Ms. Barbie on Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Green Leaves » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:02 pm

Ruth, I LOVED your example. I thought it was great!

And Jan, regarding non-fiction, I think it makes your lesson even MORE important for me. Especially since most of my writing is poetry, it is imperative that I choose the RIGHT words to make my point, because I want to make it PRECISE and TIGHT. I really need help here.
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Postby OldManRivers » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:22 pm

Worn out from a long day at work, Jan came home, exhausted. At the door she slipped off her shoes before plodding toward the kitchen. All she wanted was a cold drink and something sweet - maybe the refrigerator held some leftover cake.

“Ow!” She lifted her foot to find the cause of this shard of pain. Embedded in her heel, a small Lego, left by her young nephew on his visit the day before.

Jan, I could never make an editor!
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Postby rita5000 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:23 pm

Jan, great lesson. I will try to post the assignment tomorrow.

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Re: Jan's Class

Postby glorybee » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:52 pm

browniesgal wrote:Bone tired, Jan shuffled through her door, slipped off her shoes, and thanked God her day was over. Her thoughts had drifted to the rewards in the 'fridge, a diet soda and chocolate cake perhaps.

"Ow!" what did I step on? Pain shot through her heel. She raised her foot and saw the little red offender, a Lego, left from yesterday by my nephew, no doubt.



Ruth, really nice job on snipping away at those pesky adjectives and adverbs. And by the way, you've really mastered italics, too!

I'm itching to fiddle a bit with your punctuation...do you want me to do it on this thread, or in a PM?
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Postby PamDavis » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:58 pm

Rewrite: I am not too proud to keep trying until I get it right!

Exhausted, Jan walked into the refuge of her house at the end of a long discouraging day at work. Slipping off her pinching shoes at the door, the working single mom plodded toward the cluttered kitchen. She craved a cold soda and something sweet. My diet can start tomorrow. I hope the baby-sitter didn’t find the piece of leftover cake I hid at the back of the shelf in the ice box.


“Ow!” She raised her foot to find the source of sudden sharp pain. Imbedded in the flesh of her heel Jan discovered a Lego! Her visiting nephew must have left it yesterday.
With God All things are Possible!

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Postby glorybee » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:59 pm

Ms. Barbie wrote:Exhausted from the long, stressful day at work, she dragged her weary body into her home and slumped against the door. Peeling off expensive black heals from her swollen feet; Jan limped to the kitchen, and opened the door to the fridge. Her throat was parched, and all she wanted was a long drink of cold Diet Coke, and something sweet and chocolaty to eat.
“Ouch!” she yelled out. Something bit her bare foot.
Jan leaned against the table and painfully lifted up her foot to examine the damage.
“Ow!’Jan plucked a small yellow Lego from her heal
“Darn that nephew of mine! I thought we had put away all those toys yesterday.”


Barb, this streamlined version really got rid of so much unnecessary junk in my version--well-done!

Like the previous post, there are some non-adjective/adverb things that I'd love to fiddle with. Do you want me to do it here, or in a PM?
Jan Ackerson

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Postby glorybee » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:03 pm

Green Leaves wrote:And Jan, regarding non-fiction, I think it makes your lesson even MORE important for me. Especially since most of my writing is poetry, it is imperative that I choose the RIGHT words to make my point, because I want to make it PRECISE and TIGHT. I really need help here.


Thanks for bringing up the topic of poetry! The language of poetry is totally different from the language of prose, and uses more modifiers than prose, which is perfectly acceptable. Imagery is very important in poetry, and figurative language.

I'm not even sure that tightness is a good thing in poetry...if it's rhymed poetry, you want the meter to be tight, but not necessarily the language.

Poets out there--what do you think?
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Postby glorybee » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:04 pm

OldManRivers wrote:Jan, I could never make an editor!


Don't be so sure, Jim. You did a great job of fixing up my pitiful paragraphs!
Jan Ackerson

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