Wednesday, 8 December 2010
Words that make my eyes bleed ...
You annoyed yet? I am. I always wondered what the big deal was - what's wrong with adverbs? What's wrong with Suddenly? What's wrong with repeating the same words when it's what you want to say? Well, now 'the wrong' has been solidified.
I'm reading something at the moment which exploits these words to the point which I am yelling at the book because I want to enjoy it and not EDIT it. Argh! It's not fair. And it's a really good story too, so it's peeving me off even more.
Is there an excuse for this? Is it because it's YA and it doesn't matter as much? Is it because the author is trying to realistically depict the POV's voice and that's how the characters speak? Is it because they were trying not to use large words so that 'younger' readers could understand and enjoy it too? I hope so.
I hope that there is a reason for it because I need to get over it, ignore, and enjoy the story. My reading experience is being battered by these words. Every time I get to bed at night I need to prepare for battle. I don't want to prepare for battle. I want to relax. These words jab me like pins in my eyes every single time. I can't stand it.
Got any advice? Has this ever happened to you? How did you overcome the editor in you and just READ and ENJOY the STORY?! I'm dying here!!!
“I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.” ~John Mellencamp
“Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace” ~Judith S. Marin
“I don't ever try to make a serious social comment.” ~Paul McCartney
“I'd make a comment at a meeting and nobody would even acknowledge me. Then some man would say the same thing and they'd all nod.” ~Charlotte Bunch
“Probably what my comment meant was that I don't care about the circumstances if I can tell the truth.” ~Sally Kirkland
“We're not going to pay attention to the silliness and the petty comments. And quite frankly, women have joined me in this effort, and so it's not about appearances. It's about effectiveness.” ~Katherine Harris
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I was just thinking about this, yesterday. Humm....sometimes, I think we are oddly connected. lolReplyDelete
I don't believe it's because it's YA, firstly. Some parts could be because the writer is attempting to be realistically teen. Are most of those during dialog? The when is as important as the how.
Enjoy - I guess all I can tell you is try and ignore them or...make not of them. Using as a teaching tool for yourself. ???
I wish I could offer some useful advice, but I would have given up reading it. It's a bit like watching movies and TV programmes, I can't help commenting on what I would have done differently!ReplyDelete
I hope you are to finish it, as it sounds like you want to.
Yeah, received loud and clear! Definite overwhelming vibes of frustration on here!
It's a pig when adverbs ping off the page like bullets from a machine gun: and very popular within the YA fiction genre. Though now I've stated that I hope I don't get any hate mail. ;)
Like everyone else I'm guilty of the damn little varmints, and I'm betting my recent chaps posted up for perusal have been torn apart one way or another by writers' with crit hats on: hence no comments. :o
Like every thing to do with writing, it's a case of THINK moderation on specific adverbs, adjectives and the like and, avoid close repetition per chapter.
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Suddenly I sighed and smiled when I began reading this post.ReplyDelete
I hear all the rules when I write. Feel suddenly in the action - don't write it. And why aren't there more words for smile? Grinned? Smirked? Those have different meanings. I'm not happy with the laugh alternatives either.
Ever read a book written more than five years ago? The number of adverbs as dialogue tags is staggering.
I don't mind "began". It's certainly better than "started".ReplyDelete
Anyway I don't know what to tell you. I've only ever given up on one book in my whole life before I finished it, but I'm not going to bash another writer's work publicly. I haven't read any books recently that I got annoyed with the wording, but from what you describe this would irritate me too.
I guess that's what happens when we crit OPW. (Other People's Work) We get used to pointing out the errors. I, too, find myself screaming at some YAs, although I will use an adverb or two myself...ReplyDelete
Adverbs aren't inherently bad. It's just that, like saffron in cooking, a little goes a long way.ReplyDelete
It's hard to turn off our writer's eyes once we have gotten into this 'career'. However, I find that I can reread old favorites in order to look for specific ways to improve myself in certain ways. Do I have trouble with describing a MC? I'll read chapter one of a few of my favorites and see how they went about it!ReplyDelete
It's hard to not be in editor mode once you start writing. I have to watch myself with the adverbs, so when I read something they tend to stand out for me.ReplyDelete
I haven't figure that out yet. Reading anything is a strain anymore. Sometimes I'm awed and sometimes I want to toss the book into my fireplace. Well, I should get a fireplace first. ;-)ReplyDelete
If you figure out how to turn off the writer/editor side, let me know.
Interesting POV. I know adverbs are really a lazy way of writing-you know, show, don't tell. But using adverbs in my blog, I write as I think/speak. Good Lord! I'M LAZY!ReplyDelete
Smiling and sighing doesn't bother me, though I would hope at some point the writer would use other words to describe those actions.ReplyDelete
I use adverbs, but mostly for voice. I would never get away with how I use them in adult fiction, but that's okay, cause I don't write it. But I am selective when I use them. They HAVE to be there for a reason and not because I'm lazy.
As for suddenly, if I use it, it's only once or twice during the novel. Not like when I was a kid and every sentence began with 'suddenly.' *cringes*
Since becoming a writer, I will admit I've been annoyed to the point of putting a book down. Not so much by adverbs than by pacing, lack of voice, etc...ReplyDelete
Oh, I know what you mean. I haven't read things the same way since I became a writer. And, I must admit that sometimes seeing all these things I've heard are big no-nos makes me feel a little better about my own writing. :) But sometimes, you just have to turn off the inner editor and try to read the story. It's hard, and I don't know a real way to tell you how to do it, but some stories are definitely worth it, despite the adverbs and such.ReplyDelete
Life is short. Any book that peeves you this much isn't worth your valuable time. Set it aside. Read something else that IS well crafted and has something to teach you.ReplyDelete
And yes, 2010 has been the year of letting myself NOT finish at least 1/3 of my library books. :-D
Sometimes, if I can't turn off my internal editor while reading, I simply revise the sentences in my head. Then I feel better.ReplyDelete
I have never been able to. The writer has to be very very good - we're talking Beckett-good - before I can sit back and just read. And it's been especially noticeable since I started doing book reviews of books I would not normally buy.ReplyDelete
When you're a writer, it's tough to read ANYTHING without wanting to edit out the annoying words. Repeated words are my weakness in a first draft - it isn't until later that I do a face palm and wonder how they slipped by...ReplyDelete
Maybe it's just poorly written, Jessica. Why are you blaming yourself?ReplyDelete
Like everyone else who has commented, I can relate. It's increasingly difficult to turn off the editor when reading anything.ReplyDelete
How badly do you want to finish the story? Is there any way you can pretend you're a kid and turn off your editor?
YA shouldn't excuse that. I would suggest they do a word cloud to really see how they are overdoing it, though adverbs can be varied--that just takes good old fashioned editing.ReplyDelete
I know I abuse certain character gestures--I do it when I visualize the action. My characters really DO roll their eyes, shrug and grin a lot, but yeah... I get that I need to just not mention it part of the time and come up with a whole series of synonyms the others. Common early writer error, though. (and it bothers me MORE to have a whole paragraph, or even a sentence that DESCRIBES the damn smile, when what is meant is 'she smiled')
All I can say is I know how you feel. But that I'm also guilty of using adverbs! The more we edit, the harder it is to write AND read I think. That critical center of the brain just won't shut off.ReplyDelete
Anything that distracts from the enjoyment of the reading experience is BAD!!! Bad, bad adverbs! And with all the sighing & smiling in that book, I'll bet there's a lot more of it that was edited out!ReplyDelete
That cartoon is hilarious btw :)
Oh yes! The sign of a brilliantly written book is when a writer can read it all the way through and still have a head of hair and window pane intact when reaching The End.ReplyDelete
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Um... I stop reading? Sorry, that's not really answer, is it?ReplyDelete
The more I learn about writing, the more I edit the stories I read. It's driving my book clubs crazy I can tell you. I pick apart everything we read now. But what can you do? I can tell you I enjoy the greats ten times more.ReplyDelete
I sometimes edit the books I'm reading. If I'm lost in the plot then I don't, but I didn find myself correcting the Sky TV magazine today. Weird. lol.ReplyDelete
Honestly, I never really noticed too many adverbs...but I've noticed other things before so I know what you mean. My problem is I get jealous, especially with dialogue, and I feel like I won't be able to put something that good out.ReplyDelete
The more experience I gain in my writing career the more difficulty I have reading a book with problems like you mention. I see certain problems more in certain genres even in books by very successful authors.ReplyDelete
hmm... what are we talking about here? An actual published book? (I didn't think you read YA--?)ReplyDelete
If so, wow. I'm in the exact same boat, can you believe? I'm even finding typos like "every" instead of "ever." (Grr... about to put this one down. It's impossible for me to turn Editor Leigh off...)
If we're talking about *something else* (wink wink), make it bleed, baby. I returned a gift card for this~ ;p xoxo
Read faster...just skim over anything that's not dialogue. LOLReplyDelete
I wish I knew the cure for banishing the editor from me while I'm reading, but alas, I read for pleasure and education simultaneously, every time. xPReplyDelete
Thank God for the Find application on Word. I've deleted "sighed" and "smiled" and "suddenly" about a thousand times.
Thanks for all your comments! This post is about a published book. I WOULD NEVER talk about unfinished work like this. Because, I know as well as all you other writers that MY unfinished writing is full of these words in the first few drafts too. It's inevitable.ReplyDelete
"I don't want to prepare for battle. I want to relax. These words jab me.."ReplyDelete
now I get the newer post!
yes, i hate it when a good story is ruined by bad writing.
At first I thought it was crazy how writers shared that when they read stories they had a harder time enjoying it if too many adverbs creeped in, if there were too many things that were working against the story.ReplyDelete
Now having been in the circle for almost a year I GET IT... I actually get the frustration and often have to walk away from the story and come back later when I can properly read it!
I feel your pain!
I run into that myself, maybe not that particular issue, but stories that I just can get into because of all the editing that was missed.ReplyDelete
I just hope I take my own advice and recognized my own issues.
Oh, man, I can't believe I missed an adverb post - they are my favorites! I am a total adverbaholic but I am in therapy, so don't worry. :-)ReplyDelete
Adverbs aren't evil until they become so overused that they are noticeable.
LOL! I'm editing too as I read a book. It's annoying. I just want to read!!!! I'm with you, Jess!ReplyDelete
I'm with Alex. I usually stop reading. If the story is not entertaining enough to keep me from noticing the errors, I stop. Sad but true.ReplyDelete
I wear a different hat when I read. I recognize that this was a book someone somewhere (and probably a lot of someones in a lot of somewheres) found value. Good writing. Fast pacing. Excellent plot. Whatever.ReplyDelete
It may or may not be for me. And that's where I stop the editing part.
Then I put on the reading hat and I try to enjoy the story. I usually can, except for when the actual plot or writing is bad.
But adverbs don't bother me. So yeah...don't read my book. You'll probably die on adverb overload. Ha!