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?
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 #4
4: Cut adjectives where possible. See rule 3 (for ‘verb’ read ‘noun’).
Ha! Since I posed it last week, let me do a little cut and paste for you.
3: Use strong nouns in preference to adjectives. I won’t say avoid adjectives, period, because about once every fifty pages they’re okay! What’s not okay is to use an adjectives as an excuse for failing to find the correct noun.
Hmmm. No adjectives? As in NONE? I’m not sure I agree with this, although I have caught myself using TOO MANY from time to time. I mean, you need to describe stuff, right?
Strong nouns? I think maybe he should have re-thought that. I can understand not saying: “The angry dog barked”
What should be said is “The dog lowered his head, baring teeth. His bark echoed through the room”
The second angry dog is much more menacing, and I didn’t use any adjectives. I think he may just be talking about the whole show verses tell issue, because you’re gonna have to describe a few things sooner or later, right?
Open discussion time! What have you found with your writing and adjectives? What do you think Allen Gutrie’s point is? Where do you think adjectives are necessary?
Posted in General Writing Tips, Uncategorized
Tagged Adjective, Adverb, english language, Grammar, how to write a great novel, Literature, Noun, Verb, World Literature, Writing help