Tuesday, July 3, 2007

'ly' words

My name is Jim and I have a problem.

Hello, Jim.

My problem is...is...I'm sorry, it's just hard for me to say this the first time.

My problem is abuse of adverbs that end in 'ly'. Heather told me I have this problem before. Obviously I didn't listen.

Just this morning I was getting out of bed and going for my cup of coffee when suddenly I realized I forgot to start the pot the night before! Angrily, I poured the water in the pot, and...

Damn it! I keep doing it! Practically every time I start a...damn it!

Almost every time I start a sentence I have to use an 'ly' adverb, apparently to provide the reader with the sense of a change in action. Now I'm essentially going to crap....

I'm going to have to go back and chop nearly every 'ly' adverb out of my novel, meaning its word count will be chopped by about 5,000 words.


Penelope said...


I want to introduce everything with "first of all", even when I don't have a list.

I also overuse "that" and my sentences have a natural tendancy to go on and on and on to the point a reader might lose oxygen to the brain because they don't get permission to breathe from a period.


Thank goodness for the "delete" button.

C'est la Vie,

-- P (the cat)

Jim Stewart said...

Yeah, I have a run-on issue too. I start piling dependent clause on dependent clause until the whole sentence topples over like the inside of an overstuffed closet. It's not that unusual on revision to find that one of my sentences can be made into four.

Denni said...

Long sentences haunt me as well, but editing them is actually a pleasure. At least the writing was flowing--even if whole chunks have to be cut out later.

I'm starting to watch the adverbs obsessively, but it means allowing the inner editor to take a ring-side seat. Not good.

It's probably better to get the words on paper without worrying to much. The dreaded ly words actually serve as notes to myself about what I wanted to bring across.

However, you can probably tell that I'm not writing 165k novels :D