Monday, April 2, 2012

A = Adjectives

The time tested saying by Mark Twain: As to the Adjective, when in doubt strike it out.

When a writer writes descriptions, remember that the information needs to be pertinent to the reader. Include all the description that is required to understand the character and move the story forward. Everything else can be removed.

Questions to ask when revising a piece include:

Is this information needed?
Does it tell something about the character?
How does it move the story forward?

Zed's story:

Zed knelt down slowly next to the twisted body staining the knee of his khaki pants.

Zed knelt down next blood covered body to examine the pattern of the red blood drops splattered on the crisp shirt.

Zed knelt down next to the body, running his fingers through his greasy hair as sweat dripped down his face.

Zed knelt down next to the body, the dark red blood of his buddy splattered across his face and uniform as if he had run through sprinklers of blood.

Each of these examples cast Zed in a different light. Every statement is true. It's to the writer to decide what is important to story, character and scene.

"I think my mistakes were common - learning on cliches and adjectives in the place of clear vivid writing. But at least I knew how to spell, which seems a rarity these days." ~ Dick Schaap


Aurora Celeste said...

Neat post! I was never good at diagramming sentences and figuring out what word was what, but you make adjectives sound pretty easy! I probably abuse them, though, so I'll pay more attention to that in the future.

Aurora Celeste

Joanne said...

good start to A to Z blogging. Many letters to go

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