In 250 words, write without adverbs
I use a lot of adverbs in my writing. This is not something I’m proud of. Whenever I read over my drafts, these are among the first things that make me cringe. I think it was Gaiman (probably not, but I like to talk about Gaiman a lot, so forgive me) who said that if you’ve chosen the right verb, an adverb is unnecessary. So, pulling again from something I’ve already written, let’s get rid of some pesky, lazy adverbs, shall we?
I stopped adjusting my uniform and turned around. One of the taller boys from the back of the classroom was standing in front of me. He was smiling, hands in his pockets. I smiled back, glad for someone to talk to.
“Bonj— I mean, hello.”
The boy laughed. “That’s OK, I know what ‘bonjour’ means. I did French in Year Seven.”
I wasn’t sure how to respond, so I just kept smiling and hoped he would keep speaking.
“Anyways, I’m Mitchell,” he gave me a little wave. “I thought you might need help finding your next room. What do you have?”
“I’m not sure.”
I felt around in my dress pocket for the timetable given to me that morning. As I scanned the little coloured boxes, I felt Mitchell reposition himself behind me. His breath brushed my cheek as he brought his finger down onto the paper.
“There it is, Geography. Sweet as, you can sit next to me.”
“Yep. I’ve never been anywhere. Wouldn’t have a clue where any countries are, ‘cept New Zealand. You gonna stand there all day?”
I realised I had been staring, so I started throwing my belongings into my bag, before zipping it closed. Mitchell stood back, allowing me to pass through the door first.
“I am sorry.”
“Nah, that’s cool. Being new must be tough.”
“It isn’t so terrible. The uniforms are a bit of an adjustment, though. We didn’t wear them back home.”
“What, seriously? So the guys don’t have to wear these things,” he tugged on his tie, “unless they want to?”
I shook my head. “But you would be surprised. A few years ago, one of the big fashion magazines in France held a photo shoot just outside of Bonnu during Fashion Week and we were inundated with models. A lot of the boys started wearing ties to make themselves seem older.”
“Well if I were wearing this thing to snag a model, I wouldn’t complain so much.” Mitchell replied, gesturing towards the staircase I had almost walked straight past.
Final word count: 344
For years, I’ve had this idea for a novel that’s fairly well fleshed out, but I just need to work on the actual manuscript. And all of the research that that entails. Élodie and Mitchell are characters from that story. You’ve actually met them before, in a post I wrote about two years ago. Anyway, reading over this story, I have the itch to write more of it. Maybe during the uni break. We’ll see how we go.
You’ll have noticed there was most definitely an adverb in that passage. I left it in, because it made the dialogue sound a lot more believable. Well, for Mitch anyway. But the prose itself has been scrubbed clean.