How Should Writers Toss The Adverb?

Writing with minimal words to get your point across to the reader can be challenging for any writer. Over at Words In The Treehouse, Trish Nicolson has some great tips on how to make your point without saying alot and making sure your reader gets it.


Adverbs MyThoughts Mind Map

Adverbs MyThoughts Mind Map (Photo credit: MyThoughtsMindMaps)


How to Write Without Adverbs

This morning’s email from a friend, written in panic, and ending with “Help!” was sparked by advice from the judge of a story competition he wanted to enter. The advice was this: ‘Do not use adverbs.’

“But the second word of my story is an adverb!” he wailed, “Why can’t I use it? Why? Why?”This morning’s email from a friend, written in panic, and ending with “Help!” was sparked by advice from the judge of a story competition he wanted to enter. The advice was this: ‘Do not use adverbs.’

My breakfast sat on the table, my tummy rumbled, but a friend in need turns congealed porridge and cold tea to no account. I clattered out this advice on the keyboard:

An ‘ad-verb’ is added to a verb to condition it: make it stronger, say more, be more explicit. If you need to use an adverb; if you have to prop the verb up with a walking stick or a rod stuck down its spine, you are using the wrong verb – it is too weak to do the job you want it to do.  Stronger, appropriate verbs that say and do precisely what you want them to say and do, without face-lifts and crutches, give zest to your writing. And cutting adverbs reduces your word count. Read more here.




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Before They Were Famous

Cover of "Odd Jobs (Road to Writing)"

Cover of Odd Jobs (Road to Writing)


Posted By Zachary Petit

by Alex Palmer

Plenty of acclaimed and successful writers began their careers working strange—and occasionally degrading—day jobs. But rather than being ground down by the work, many drew inspiration for stories and poems from even the dullest gigs. Here are 10 of the oddest odd jobs of famous authors—all of them reminders that creative fodder can be found in the most unexpected places.

#1. Kurt Vonnegut managed America’s first Saab dealership in Cape Cod during the late 1950s, a job he joked about in a 2004 essay: “I now believe my failure as a dealer so long ago explains what would otherwise remain a deep mystery: Why the Swedes have never given me a Nobel Prize for Literature.”

#2. John Steinbeck took on a range of odd occupations before earning enough to work as a full-time writer. Among his day jobs: apprentice painter, fruit picker, estate caretaker and Madison Square Garden construction worker.

#3. Stephen King served as a janitor for a high school while struggling to get his fiction published. His time wheeling the cart through the halls inspired him to write the opening girls’ locker room scene in Carrie, which would become his breakout novel.

#4. Harper Lee worked as a reservation clerk for Eastern Air Lines for more than eight years, writing stories in her spare time. This all changed when a friend offered her a Christmas gift of one year’s wages, with the note, “You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please.” She wrote the first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird within the year. READ MORE HERE.

Writing What We Know

Its been said over and over again, that writers should write what they know. I do that everyday. But, I am also influenced by other writers. If I am reading a favorite author ideas of my own creep up inside me and I have to jot them down. I also admire other authors works because of the creativity that had been put into their story. When I saw an interview with Stephen King, I couldn’t believe that a lot of his stories stemmed from dreadful periods in his life. On the other hand, you have writers who tell a story from some true incident that actually happened. But, I am sure they changed the names to protect the innocent.

Do you write what you know? What author sparks your creativity? I read a blog that covers what authors were most influential to her. Check out The article “12 Most Comprehensive Writing Insights From Famous Authors.” I thought his insight on a select few authors and how they inspired her was interesting.

English: Langston Hughes, half-length portrait...

English: Langston Hughes, half-length portrait, seated, facing right, with right hand under chin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

12 Most Comprehensive Writing Insights from Famous Authors

Posted by  on Oct 9, 2012 

  • As a writer, can you trace your roots? Just like musicians, we are influenced by the works of others. How much of your mentors do you see in your own writing?

The following are 12 lessons in writing I learned from my favorite authors.

1. Victor Hugo

Writing was a different type of gig when Hugo was alive. Authors salaries were dependant on length, which may explain why some classics come in at over a 1,000 pages. This could be why Hugo meanders through “Les Miserables” — an excuse to add his personal thoughts on Waterloo, religion, and slang.

2. Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle

Doyle published several short Sherlock Holmes stories in Strand Magazine. The serials were then collected into novels. This approach feels very similar to what I do as a blogger every day. Publishing tid bits of knowledge that can later be collected into anthologies.

3. Judy Blume

Reading “Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great” was the first time I saw a tom boy in literature. Blume’s books spoke to young girls about their fears associated with being teenagers. The young adult market is a big deal and one of the most lucrative for new authors.

4. F. Scott Fitzgerald

I love and despise “The Great Gatsby.” The characters are deeply flawed but the story is well written. A good writer can craft an enduring tale that is not dependant on our attitudes towards the main characters or themes. Read more here.

Writing The Horror Novel

I have always loved Stephen King. He is the best horror novelist I have ever read. I stumbled across and article with tips on writing the perfect horror novel in order to scare the pants off of your readers. Happy Writing!

The Werewolf of Fever Swamp (TV special)

The Werewolf of Fever Swamp (TV special) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Creating An Environment for a Horror Story
By Sarah Todd

The best horror writers give their readers a scare; perhaps make them shiver with fear or squirm at vivid descriptions of a terrifying scene or a frightening character. A good horror story will make its readers feel uncomfortable, afraid to turn the page to read what happens next. This article will discuss setting the scene that a good horror story will be happy to call home.

Ask someone to choose a setting for a horror story and the response will probably be: ”Use your imagination”. But that’s not strictly the right approach. It’s all very well to let your mind conjure up images of chainsaw-wielding zombies roaming the highway in search of fresh blood to appease the zombie king who lives on a haunted island in the middle of a lake… but how do you make the story believable? Your imagination may give you a great idea for a horror story, but that’s just the first step towards creating something to capture your readers’ attention.

A healthy dose of reality is what turns an idea and plotline into a horror story. The good horror writer will use plenty of reality to bring his story to life, creating a world that will – ultimately – terrify his readers. Inspiration is everywhere, and when creating the setting for your story you probably don’t have to look very far. The trick is to use your words to paint a typical scene – one with which most people are familiar – perhaps a place where they feel safe. Then add a couple of sentences to imply that perhaps all is not as it seems and there’s something not quite right with this picture. 

The paragraph below is from William Peter Blatty’s terrifying book The Exorcist. I’ve boldened the few words he’s used to add a chilling element to the basic description of an average house. Note how he’s used a couple of sentences to enhance the “normality” of the scene: read more here.

Author Exposed: Karin Lefranc

I love promoting authors and their books. I love it even more when a book can teach a child a very important lesson in life. Karin Lefranc has done this with her book “A Quest For Good Manners.” This is a story kids will have fun with while they learn valuable life lessons. Teachers and parents will appreciate the lesson young readers will learn. Karin also shares some insight on her favorite books, authors and writing tips. Please help me in welcoming author Karin Lefranc. Feel free to leave a comment.

TNW: How long have you been writing?

KL: I have been writing since my first job, which was as a reporter for a local newspaper.

TNW: Have you always written for children?

KL: I went from writing for the local newspaper to working as an assistant editor at Virgin Books in London. There I wrote a lot of press releases and book blurbs. I didn’t start writing for children until about five years ago.

TNW: What drives and motivates your writing?

KL: I first excited about a story idea. I am fueled by the creative process, and then I just love to write.

TNW: Do you feel it’s important for writers to use social media? How?

KL: Oh my, I do feel it is important. That’s not to say I am very good at it. Social media is a powerful platform and as writers we have an advantage to use it well. Marketing ourselves and our books is so important and facebook, blogs, twitter are incredibly useful tools.

TNW: Who are some of your favorite authors and why?

KL: I love One by Kathryn Otoshi. A book about bullying but so much more.

Anything by Mo Willems—he gets how kids think. On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillma

is a lovely gift for any new baby on planet earth. Frog and Toad Collection—don’t need any self

-help books when you have this treasure!

TNW: What writing books would you recommend to new writers?

KL: I just finished Stephen King’s On Writing and that was great. Today, I bought Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, which is on everyone’s list of best books on writing. One that isn’t on everyone’s list and is wonderfully inspiring is If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland. It was originally published in the 1938 and it is a real treasure.

 TNW: What advice do you have for new writers?

KL: Read, write, join SCBWI and a critique group and then read and write some more.

TNW: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

KL: With four kids ages 10 and under it’s sometimes hard to find time to write. I hope in five years, I will have more time to write. In addition to more picture books, I would love to write a middle grade novel.

Title: A Quest For Good Manners

Author: Karin Lefranc

Illustrator: Hannah Neale

Publisher: Beluga Press
ISBN: 9780983045908


Teaching children good manners is a required item on any parents “to do” list. Children can learn to be respectful and courteous at a very young age. Instead of making learning manners a cumberson task, teach them how with a fun, easy to read story that has a princess, a dragon, a fairy and a wizard. It might even be fun for you to send your little ones on a quest of their own for good manners.

Princess Rosalind and her trusty friend Sparkler, a big green dragon, are the slurppiest, sloppiest and drippiest eaters at the Queens table. These two friends over-stuff their mouths with food and then talk while they chew. As a result, food spews and splatters everywhere. The Queen will not stand for this ill-mannered behavior any longer. Of course, Rosalind argues that they really don’t need manners and dragons don’t really know any better. The Queen gives Rosalind and Sparkler three days to find good manners or she will banish Sparkler forever from the kingdom. Rosalind and Sparkler begin their quest to find Percival, an all knowing wizard, for help and guidance.

Rosalind’s first task is to pull a golden fork with a ruby embellished handle from a stone. Rosalind pulls and tugs at the fork until her hands hurt. With the help of Percival she soon realizes its not strength that will release the fork, but knowing how to hold a fork. Once she achieves that goal the fork will glow and be her guide to her next quest. As Rosalind and Sparkle learn more about good manners and what is expected, the two also makes some really nice friends along the way.

Teaching manners can be tricky. Lefranc has done an excellent job of showing young readers how to say please and thank you. This quest can also open up dialogue between parents and children no matter what age. Teachers can also use this as a tool for students in preschool or kindergarten during snack time. Bright and cheery digital illustrations invite readers into the world of the princess and her dragon. Visual expressions of these hilarious characters will bring smiles to all who turn the pages.

Thanks so much Karin for sharing with us today. To learn more about Karin please visit Kristi’s Book Nook and participate in the awesome book giveaway.

twitter: @karinlefranc
A Quest for Good Manners“a fun and meaningful way to demonstrate to children that good manners are not just boring rules but a show of kindness and consideration to others.”—New York Journal of Books