Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Gentle Writing Advice

Here’s a post you may enjoy, from Terrible Minds:

If you follow me on Twitter (you fool), you may have seen that I have been doing a thread over there of so-called GENTLE WRITING ADVICE. (That thread is here.)

And I just wanted to talk about, for a moment, why I’m doing that.

And this part right here made me laugh:

How many times must we be told that adverbs are BAD BAD BAD (even though adverbs are a necessary part of language that includes words like “often” and “everywhere” and “after”). Or how if you use dialogue tags other than ‘said,’ you’ll get a chafing thigh rash? I mean, sure, yes, okay, if you write —

“I went to the mall!” Derek yammered hydroponically

— then you deserve the side-eye from an editor, but that’s not because of adverbs or dialogue tags, it’s because you wrote a… ennhyeah, a not-great sentence. You eschewed clarity in favor of stunt writing. Stunt writing is okay sometimes. But sacrificing clarity, probably not. But again, the problem there isn’t adverbs or dialogue tags, and assigning writing advice to tackle those specific things is not necessarily helpful. It demonizes the wrong stuff.

Yammered hydroponically! Ha ha ha!

It’s been a while since I glanced at the Terrible Minds blog, but I’ll have to remember to do that more often. In the meantime, here you go, click through if you have a moment and read the whole thing.

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2 Comments Gentle Writing Advice

  1. Pete Mack

    I would think incessant yammering would be hydraulic, like a jackhammer. Though throwing in a spoonerism doesn’t hurt the sentence, precisely.

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