Friday, October 26, 2007

Behold the Adjectives

I haven't received the marked-up manuscript in the mail yet, but I'm using the time to go through and find all the adverbs and adjectives I can. I can find most of the adverbs by doing a search for words that end in "ly", but unless Word has a "find adjectives" feature I don't know about, I have to go through a print-out with a green highlighter and catch them by hand. I can do this at a coffee shop, which gets me away from the distractions at home. Then I take it home, highlight the adjectives green on my manuscript page in Word, and work on weeding all the unnecessary ones out. I had no idea I had such an adjective infestation! I have no other way to describe it. It is an infestation. Yikes!

As I sit here typing this after my night's work is done, I've worked my way through Chapters One and Two (one chapter per night since I talked to Bob) and nixed as many adjectives as I thought I could. Some of them, I must keep to clarify things in the story, but I definitely don't need all of them. I also notice that I seem to have a surplus of adjectives in some places but not in others. So far, I don't notice a pattern to the problem, but I may notice one as I get farther into the manuscript. I'm just glad Bob pointed it out to me so I can fix it now. Of course, I want the manuscript to go out to publishers in the best possible shape, and sending it out with all those extra adjectives would be like sending out roses with aphids.

2 comments:

Andrew said...

What's wrong with adjectives?

KHurley said...

There's nothing wrong with them per se; I just had too many of them in some places. I had developed a tendency to use two or three where one would have been better. For some reason, they seemed to crop up whenever the scene got tense, as if subconsciously I was trying to heighten the tension by throwing in some extra adjectives. I never even noticed I was doing it until Bob pointed it out.