Monday, March 7, 2011

Eliminate most adjectives and adverbs

In your writing, you may think "beautiful" fully describes what you have in your mind. However, that word can have different meanings to readers. To say something is "beautiful" is not enough when writing a novel.

To write: "The flowers looked beautiful that time of the year," is frail. You should use your verbs and nouns to do most of the work describing your scenery.

The daisy's opened its smooth white petals each morning like an eye, and the yellow center of disk florets would see a new day. The stems had no leaves and supported only one flower, but each plant had flower stalks of three to four inches.

This is more descriptive and the reader has a greater ability to envision your scenery.

You want to be careful not to overload your writing with descriptions but when you need a description provide all the details so that the reader can see the picture in their minds.


  1. I agree with you on both counts: description can add a new element to your scene, but less is always more.

  2. Would "The daisy's opened their smooth white petals.." or
    "The daisy opened its smooth white petals.." make more sense? To me "daisy's" implies plural when it's singular.As in the smooth white petals belong specifically to this one daisy.
    Either way you have given me food for thought.