Weeding Out Unnecessary “ly” Adverbs
Primal Blade, a book I am preparing for publication on CreateSpace, will be the fourth in the Accidental Heroes series. The others are The Helot, Dark Danger, and Terminus. I have done two rewrites of Primal Blade, and this third time through I am looking at all the adverbs ending with “ly” and determining whether or not they are necessary and if any of them can be replaced with other terminology that will give the story a tighter feel. It is proving to be a beneficial exercise that I will repeat with all future books.
I thought I had paid close attention to and weeded out unnecessary “ly” adverbs during my previous rewrites. Well, I found an appreciable number of them I had not weeded out. Mercy! At some point in the future I may do a 2nd edition of the previous books in the series, taking into account ugly “ly” adverbs (witticism intended).
Rephrasing for Better Expression
Are some “ly” adverbs necessary? Certainly! Or should I say, “Of course!”? However, although there are “ly” adverbs that appear both natural and necessary, one might find that in truth they are not. Of course, eliminating “ly” words requires cerebral work centered around one question: How can I rephrase this to better express what I am trying to communicate?
If you are a writer, take a look at your own writing and your use of “ly” adverbs. And I would encourage you not to trust your ability to browse paragraph to paragraph. Rather, if you are using Word, under the “Home” tab click on “Find” and put “ly” in the search box. It will highlight all of the “ly” words in your document (including words with “ly” anywhere within them). Work your way through them. I would warn you, when you change one “ly” adverb the remaining will “un-highlight.” Click the little down arrow to the right, below the search box, to restore the “ly” highlights. Go to the next word, and so on. Go ahead, give it a try.
As a result of the “ly” adverb exercise I am applying to Primal Blade, it is going to be a better book and a more enjoyable read. The exercise will help your book, short story, thesis, term paper, or essay as well.