Friday, November 2, 2012

Cultural Adverbs

I wrote an article about the advantages of not using adverbs and how that approach can be related to boosting word count. You can see the article here:

This time around, I want to talk about Cultural Adverbs.

So many conflicts I've seen on the internet, often results from culture clash. Different cultural beliefs, religion, politics, genres of art, the list goes on. The internet can be universally accessible, but there's no such thing as an accepted universal internet format.

In British and Australian fiction, the occasional adverb is fine. Sometimes adverbs are expected, because it's on a cultural level. In North America (I'm not going to say the U.S. only because it's the same in the whole continent, and hey! Canadian, here!), adverbs are generally frowned upon because an abundance of adverbs makes for a harder sell in North American culture.

However, I've noticed adverbs in American novels, based in the U.S., and written by American authors. Jack Ketchum, for example, a very good horror writer, uses adverbs, though it's rare. From what I've read of Ketchum, maybe one or two adverbs in a whole novel. This creates an interesting effect. Because his use of adverbs is so rare within such dark and scary stories, when one is used, it creates a powerful dramatic effect.

So whenever I hear from writers who claim adverbs are oh so bad, big no-no, and you must be a terrible writer for daring to use a single adverb in a 60,000 word novel... I know that's simply not true.

This goes with my previous article about Was and Had. It comes down to grammar in fiction, which is not about using the exact right words, it's about how the words are used. Context, it's all about context.

Every single word in any fiction writing, needs to be there for a good reason. Using adverbs to replace writing a full paragraph of description, isn't a good reason and some would call it laziness. However, using adverbs for emphasis of a specific aspect within a story, whether it's drama or a needed pause, is a good reason and many would call this good crafting.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
If you're not a spammer,
I'd love to hear from you.