I’m dissecting the article Hunting Down the Pleonasm, by Allen Guthrie, using it as a cattle prod to search for little nasties in my manuscript. Yep, you can join in the fun, too. Let’s take a looksee at topic #5
5: Pairs of adjectives are exponentially worse than single adjectives. The ‘big, old’ man walked slowly towards the ‘tall, beautiful’ girl. When I read a sentence like that, I’m hoping he dies before he arrives at his destination. Mind you, that’s probably a cue for a ‘noisy, white’ ambulance to arrive. Wailingly, perhaps!
I think this is pretty much self-explanatory. I know I have done this, but usually to create a mood, and definitely in moderation.
For instance, a character in a deep, dark dungeon. Miles took a slow, calculated step. Yes, in each case you could delete one, but there is a mood set with the use of two, right. BE CAREFUL THOUGH. Use this extremely sparingly. (Ha! That’s two “ly” words in a row)
Take a look through your manuscript. Where have you used double adjectives and had it work well? Where did you smack yourself upside the head and delete one (or more) adjectives?