Continuing my thoughts on Stephen King's On Writing...
After his memoir and his take on the rewrite, Mr. King moves on to the writer's toolbox. Oh, this is a biggie. I'll probably reread this section and take notes. Grammar and usage are a big part of the toolbox, of course, but I think I have that side of it all stitched up. What I needed to hear was his section on adverbs.
I love adverbs. I love adverbs almost as much as I love semicolons. If it weren't for the strange looks the poor kid would get from the rest of humanity, I'd name my first child "Semicolon Adverb." But Stephen King says, "Adverbs are not your friend."
His case for avoiding adverbs is a good one; active verbs really can do the job without adverbial help. Sigh. As if I don't have enough issues with trying to cut down on my semicolon use. Reading (and heeding!) the advice of writers can only improve my writing. And I need to decide what works for me and especially grab hold of that stuff. But perhaps I'll just title my first book Semicolon Adverb in recognition of what I had to edit out.
The news does get better after that, when he says that language need not always be dressed up. ("Wear a tie", I think he says.) Now, I am a grammar nut. When it comes to a newspaper, or a flyer, or a sign in a store, or anything else that is published for my information, I expect to see that the writer either ran it through a grammar check or at least asked someone else to check it over and be sure that it was correct. Sadly, I am often disappointed. (My husband's alma mater is a repeat offender in this category.)
But when it comes to fiction, it is liberating to not have to stick to the rules like Crazy Glue. And I should know-- for the past 10 years of my life, everyone in my world has been gracious about my brain continually battling between two sets of rules-- British and American. On any given day, there is no telling which set will win. So I appreciate that my words are allowed to go out in flip-flops and a tank top, instead of a skirt and heels.