I’m two classes into my manuscript writing class that I’m taking at the community college. Leave it to me to take such a class AFTER I’ve completed one manuscript and am 60 pages into another one 🙂
In the last class, the instructor ragged on adverbs quite a bit. The advice was to use sparingly – especially after dialog tags because use of adverbs indicate weak verb choices. According to this instruction, I wouldn’t want to do the following:
“That would be nice,” Marissa accepted quickly, grateful for the company.
Too bad that was an actual sentence from my manuscript…and it has lots of company. A brief scan revealed that I love adverbs…and ‘quickly’ is my favorite one. I don’t know what adverbs did to annoy the literary world, but I will do my part by weeding out as many as I can. Ugh.
So, I get to read my manuscript again. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed reading it the first eight or nine times, but it’s getting to the point it ranks right up there with cleaning house. In fact, I think I’d rather clean. Eww…can’t believe I just wrote that.
This supports my opinion that a novel is never complete. (See my Oxymoron – Completed Novel post).
To keep my positive outlook going, I am optimistic that I’m getting better with adverb usage. The first scene of a new short story got through a group critique without getting torn apart. I absolutely loved this because it’s new for me; every other critique has been so brutal that I wanted to crawl into a hole and cry for a couple days.
Unfortunately, I’ve stalled on novel #2 at the moment. I’m repeating my “It’ll get done when it gets done” mantra and focusing on all the stuff I am accomplishing (novel #1 adverb annihilation, Kharma’s Way short story posts for Saturday Mornings (and Serial Central), short story for class and even a poem once in a while.)
I would love to hear about any manuscript mistakes you’ve made 🙂 Does anyone write multiple projects simultaneously? If so, do you have any tips or pointers for keeping stories straight?