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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Beware: Runaway Adverbs Ahead

"When I wake up the dreams seem boringly predictable, but when I'm inside them they are terrifyingly - or orgasmically real." 

I'm guessing even an attentive reader might not notice a writer artless enough to use three adverbs in a sentence of nineteen words. But if you're going to write a groaner like the one above - and worse, your editor doesn't lunge for their red pen - at least make sure all three adverbs clear Spellcheck!

The crude clichés were unleashed early in this 2012 bestseller. Somewhere around page fifty "mental masturbation" gracelessly appeared; still more than two hundred fifty pages left. I distracted myself temporarily by reading the gushing blurbs on the back cover and wondered: Did these other authors - some of whom I've enjoyed reading - really read this book? If so, are they perhaps related to the author of this novel stuffed with tired phrases and runaway adverbs?

Until I finish my own first book - not to mention find a publisher and then make the bestseller list - I remain committed to my pledge to not identify by title any book with prose like this one that makes me shudder. However, if the editor of my first book overlooks any stupefyingly puerile, breathlessly anecdotal, or orgasmically overwrought prose in my debut, I hope one of you will come to my rescue. I will be truly, deeply, and eternally grateful.


  1. I'll gladly read your first draft:)!

    1. Ines; Thanks for the offer; I'll get back to you in a few years (I hope!).

  2. Your post inspired me to execute a search and figure out the book and the author.

    1. Chris; Thanks (again) for reading. Good luck with that search.