I spent the last few weeks doing a major editorial overhaul of my latest manuscript. We took a last-minute mini-vacation and I spent most of my time reading and writing. My eyes were staring to get crossed and bleary. I focused on tackling suggested edits (the overuse of compound verbs and -ly adverbs) in my manuscript. I'll be honest, when I first got the initial critique mentioning a massive re-edit, I had three thoughts: 1. Boy, I'm grateful someone who doesn't know me from Adam is willing to take a few minutes out of their day to provide specific feedback on how to improve my writing.
2. Dan Brown uses lots of -ly adverbs. However, I'm not Dan Brown (although he is also from the Granite State).
3. I really, really, really love -ly adverbs. They're lovely! They're extremely fun! Alas, I just shouldn't use them so profusely.
So, I gathered up a red pen, a purple pen, my beloved Thesaurus, chai tea and some determination, and I went to town. I slashed and hashed my way through verbs and adverbs like I was playing Gauntlet (yikes, did I just date myself?). I found ways to be much more creative with my verbiage, and I'm pleased with the result. I want to do a few more reads just to make sure I caught all the issues, fixed all the bugs, etc. but I'm happy.
In other news, I saw this post by the Paris Review about some of Dickens' manuscript pages for Great Expectations. The article brought back happy memories. While I was an undergrad at WPI (back when it was still Worcester Polytech), I was lucky enough to be able to transpose and catalog some of the personal letters and notes Dickens wrote (part of the Fellman Dickens Collection in the Gordon Library). I remember holding a book Dickens signed and thinking to myself: "Charles Dickens held this. He wrote in this." To me, it was akin to shaking his hand.
Also, on a follow up from an earlier post, I am not the only person to have experienced Thesaurus confusion: Check this out!
- What are Adverbs and How to Use Them Properly (easytalkph.wordpress.com)