At the very last minute, I decided to do the A-Z Challenge for April for my writing blog. The biggest reason I decided to, is because this poor blog has been neglected while I have put a primary focus over on my food blog. It was unintentional, I promise.
I write everyday, and I even spend a huge chunk of time almost everyday editing whatever I’ve written, so it only seems natural to continue writing over here too. It’s not that hard, right?
So what is the word I chose as the topic of letter A? I didn’t. I chose three. Why? Because they all go together.
Authors use adjectives and adverbs to make their writing more exciting, more readable … to tell the story with a bit more detail. Adverbs get you wondering. Adjectives allow you to see the picture in your mind. Let’s get started.
Starting with a simple sentence, let’s see if we can paint a picture (adjectives) and set the mood (adverbs).
The man walked down the street.
That’s about as boring as it gets, don’t you think? Would you honestly keep reading a book if the sentences looked like that? It sounds like a child is writing that. (although in fairness, I know kids who write better than that!)
That sentence tells me nothing. It’s difficult to conjure up a picture of anything because the man could be anyone, that sentence doesn’t tell me enough to picture much.
But if we play around with some adverbs:
The man walked quickly down the street. This gives us a sense of urgency, a sense that he is in a hurry for some reason. Is he late for something? Is he being followed?
The man walked slowly down the street. This gives us a much different sense of direction. Now we begin to wonder, is he sad? Is he looking for something?
Adverbs can send a message to the reader about what you are trying to portray. Words like calmly, awkwardly, suspiciously, angrily, etc. evoke different emotions. They set a tone with a simple word.
Using our same sentence from above, and using one of the adverbs.
The man walked quickly down the street.
There is a mood, a tone that has been set. A sense of urgency. But I still have trouble picturing much more than a faceless person walking down a street. Let’s fix that by adding in some adjectives,
The aggravated man walked quickly down the street.
Now we’re talking. There’s something more to that sentence, something to conjure up an image in your mind. He’s upset, he’s aggravated, there’s the urgency there – now why is he aggravated?
Let’s add another adjective.
The aggravated man walked quickly down the damp street.
Look what just happened there. More than likely, the reason he is walking quickly is because it’s raining, or it just rained. He’s possibly aggravated by this.
It gives more information, it lends a sense of description and background to the sentence, not only making the sentence more entertaining to read, but helping to present a total picture.
I know I could keep rambling on about adjectives and adverbs and it’s such a simple grade school concept. The reason I chose to push those today is because I have been reading a lot of things lately, and the thing I am seeing a lot of, is sentences that don’t tell me anything. I wonder why the sentence is even there. It doesn’t tell me anything about what’s happening, and if it does, it’s so plain its difficult to enjoy.
Writers, watch your adjectives and adverbs. Take a sentence and give it a bit more punch by using words that help to tell the story, help to paint a picture.
Do you see this a lot? I admit I am a bit of a description junkie – I overdo adjectives a lot and have to edit, but I still feel like adjectives lend a lot to the story and the adverbs just give you a sense of mood. Do you agree?
Are you doing the challenge? Tell me in the comments so I can come read your stuff too!