Monday, April 12, 2010
Do these boots really need the laces and all those buckles?
Wouldn't one or the other suffice? In fact, neither are necessary. I'm pretty sure the boots would stay on your feet without them. It kind of reminds me of adverbs, exclamation points, and non-said dialogue tags. Take this sentence, for example: "I hate you!" he shouted loudly. I mean, really, come on. Are the exclamation point, shouted, and loudly all needed to get the point across? Furthermore, are any of them necessary? I think not. "I hate you," he said through gritted teeth and stormed away. Not great examples, but I think you get the point. Which sentence conveys a more powerful sense of anger? I go with the second. I've heard so many writers complain about the rules of not using adverbs, exclamation points, and non-said dialogue tags. And, not to put anyone down, because I find it as frustrating as the next guy, but there is a reason these things are frowned upon. They are TELLING. It's lazy writing. Don't get me wrong--there are times when these things may be necessary, but in my opinion, they are few and far between. Use them sparingly. I can't tell you how many times I had to restructure sentences during my rewrites to avoid these things. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it. For every adverb, exclamation point, or non-said dialogue tag in your writing, I challenge you to rewrite them without it. I think you'll find that you've created much stronger sentences. So, what do you say? Are you up for the challenge. I know I am.