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Cia's Weekend Writing Challenge #5: 3 Adjectives and 2 Adverbs... Harder than it seems!


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We're still sticking with basic writing elements this week, but these are probably the most important ones for an author when it comes to knowing when it's important to describe something and when. It's hard to strike a balance, and you want to use words that have impact. Describing objects can be done in mundane ways or you can easily choose to go in other directions. How and why you describe something depends on the scene, the character narrating the scene, and just what you're conveying to the reader. 

 

First, a reminder of just what these are and what they do. 

Adjectives: words that describe nouns (our persons, places, and things)

Adverbs: words that describe verbs; often end in ly (our action words)

 

Now, let's see them in action...

 

Scenario 1

Imagine passing through a cemetery.

 

Now, what kind of character are you? 

 

Are you a pre-teen out there on a dare? A teenager with the power to kick butt? A widower who's had a few too many?

 

Who's following the story? A YA reader following a coming of age tale? An eager paranormal addict with a stake addiction? A hopeless romantic looking for some sort of second chance--even a spooky one

 

or

 

Scenario 2

Imagine wading through water.

 

Now, what kind of character are you?

 

Are you an adventurer seeking treasure? A hiker lost in the wilderness? A diver emerging from a dive?

 

Who's following the story? A reader with a love of historical fiction? Someone who can't resist stories of men in uniform? An adventure reader who eagerly devours tales about animals from the depths

 

or

 

Scenario 3

Imagine cradling something in your arms. 

 

Now what kind of character are you?

 

A parent? A veterinarian doing their job? A volunteer delivering blankets to a shelter? 

 

Who's following the story? Someone who loves cute kids in a story or can't resist a Daddy or Manny? An animal lover who can't resist a white coat? Someone who loves a contemporary story about giving back? 

 

Challenge: 

Pick a scenario above and write a short scene. No less than 100 words, no more than 300. Let us see, hear, smell, taste, feel what your characters are going through and doing, but... you can only use 3 adjectives and 2 adverbs, total. And, just so you can see how hard it is to avoid using them, adjectives in this post are in red and adverbs are colored in blue. Share your scene below, and in a prompt collection if you have one! 

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I know that a common piece of writing advice is that a writer should avoid adverbs, but I thought adjectives were okay to use?  Is that no longer the case?

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Alright. I'll take on scenario number one. How's this?

 

"Darkness. I walk through the cemetery, from the front gate to the familiar spot of choice. I know the way. I can count the steps in my mind. And yet, I feel as though I'm a different person every time that I make the journey.

 

Slowly, I approach the stone marker, and I kneel down to grieve in its shadow. It's been two years, but the pain remains. Eagerly clawing at my heart with talons of regret and heartbreak. I should have been stronger. I should have known better.

 

As I look up and see my own name chiseled into the tombstone before me, I'm forced to ask, once again...why did I do that to myself? Why?

I'm only there for a moment before I feel my spiritual form begin to fade away. I can't stay long. But I know I'll be back tomorrow night. And the night after that. And the night after THAT. Punishment? Perhaps. But I know a day will come when I can move on. It just won't be tonight.

 

No. Not tonight."

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22 hours ago, CassieQ said:

I know that a common piece of writing advice is that a writer should avoid adverbs, but I thought adjectives were okay to use?  Is that no longer the case?

Adjectives aren't BAD to use... but it's important to pick all words you use with care. Being mindful of every word you choose when you write teaches you to consider just what you're trying to convey and what the best way to do that is. Do you have to describe everything? How much can be left to readers because it really doesn't have to be said and could be given to their imagination instead? 

 

And don't worry, this isn't the end of the adjective and adverbs lessons. Think of this as an interesting challenge and a way of reminding yourself just how many words are adjectives and adverbs and how often you use them. And, if you like to use them, just know we're going the opposite way next week. ;)

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@Comicality Don't forget to go through and highlight your adjectives and adverbs! We're going to do a part two on this next weekend that I hope you and any other authors who write something, will take part in! 

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I picked Scenario 2.

-------------------------------------------------------

 

 

A cloud of smoke was hanging over the fields and the pond. He was wading through the water. Spencer looked up, shielding his eyes. He had reached the stairs to the platform that had been built in antediluvian times. 12,000 years ago, the platform, now crumbled, had been the base of a giant monument. Spencer heard the sound that the legends spoke of, the hum and buzz of pumps and machines, mistaken for the growl of a beast by the natives. The noise was coming from the depths, from under the ground. Spencer shuddered. The factory of the gods had never stopped working.

 

A crow crossed the sky and settled on the stairs. Spencer stared. The bird was a drone. It directed its eye on him.

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2 hours ago, Cia said:

@Comicality Don't forget to go through and highlight your adjectives and adverbs! We're going to do a part two on this next weekend that I hope you and any other authors who write something, will take part in! 

 

Will do. Um...I don't know if my HTML works on these forums, though. Should I just make a short list below?

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49 minutes ago, Dolores Esteban said:

I picked Scenario 2.

-------------------------------------------------------

 

 

A cloud of smoke was hanging over the fields and the pond. He was wading through the water. Spencer looked up, shielding his eyes. He had reached the stairs to the platform that had been built in antediluvian times. 12,000 years ago, the platform, now crumbled, had been the base of a giant monument. Spencer heard the sound that the legends spoke of, the hum and buzz of pumps and machines, mistaken for the growl of a beast by the natives. The noise was coming from the depths, from under the ground. Spencer shuddered. The factory of the gods had never stopped working.

 

A crow crossed the sky and settled on the stairs. Spencer stared. The bird was a drone. It directed its eye on him.

 

Beautiful! Hehehe, this needs a sequel. :P

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5 hours ago, Comicality said:

 

Will do. Um...I don't know if my HTML works on these forums, though. Should I just make a short list below?

Why don't you send me a list via PM and I'll go through and highlight them for you? 

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