Wednesday, May 24, 2017

TWIC: adverbs,stone work,maps

I have read many advice columns on writing; I suspect I have spent more time doing that than actually writing. That aside, one common piece of advice was to limit the amount of adverbs you use. Instead of "Ran quickly", say "Raced" or "sprinted". As I see it, the advice suggests adverbs are an oral device to fix a wrong word after the fact. You can't unsay something but you can modify it. You can however delete a word and replace it.
Is there any evidence or measurable reason to avoid adverbs? There is at least some research on who uses more and fewer adverbs. From Nabokov's favorite word is mauve, Tyler Cowan offers ly-adverb usage per ten thousand words:
Hemingway: 80
Twain: 81
Melville: 126
Austen: 128
J.K. Rowling: 140
E L James: 155
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In carving stone, you measure many, many times and cut carefully!

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Google Maps the best open-secret writing tool.
While writing and researching, I desperately wanted to visit Liverpool. To wander its streets. View its architecture. Feel its history. But what was a working mom of four kiddos in Texas supposed to do?
Enter Google Maps. The best writing tool that no one knows about. Well, of course, you know about Google Maps. But do you use it in your writing?
As a real estate agent, I used Google Maps all the time. For directions. For a sneak peek at a neighborhood. To see if a pool at a prospective house took up all of the yard when my client still wanted green space.
But as a writer? I had never heard of authors using it. And yet, it became the very best tool in my kit.

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