Writerly Wednesdays

The Great Adverbectomy

When I first began writing, I wrote completely without guidance, operating my keyboard without training. After several manuscript rejections, I found much-needed help through a critique group. My first writing mentor addressed a problem. Since I had enough adverbs in my first paragraph to give an editor a heart attack, they were removed. Gasp. Wheeze. Whimper.

I loved my adverbs. They were astonishingly, beguilingly, charmingly, alluringly wonderful.
After recovering from the shock, I went home and held a small service in their honor. Lovingly, longingly, I took one final look at my Word document before starting my search.

Weepingly, I sought for any word ending in the dreaded, tell-tale “ly” and my pages lit up like a Christmas tree. Adverbs were everywhere! No longer did they look as innocent.

Goodness they had infiltrated a perfectly, decently written document and created something abnormally, agonizingly, alarmingly irritating.

My work headed to the verb gym for a total manuscript makeover. Wow, who knew training could create such a lean document?

Yes, the great adverbectomy was a touch painful. And although at times I may gaze longingly at my adverb buddies, in reality, my manuscripts are better without them.

In the same way, there are things in our lives that we think are okay, but only hinder our growth as Christians. Or perhaps there are things that cause us to stumble and sin. God provides the manual – His Holy Word – to guide us along our path.

We don’t get to pick and choose what we think works best; we need to remember God is the Creator and He has the final word on how best to live our lives.

Talk to God and ask Him to show you anything that might be holding you back. And even if it’s a touch painful to remove, God wants to make sure you are the best you.

And writers, be aware, be very aware, of the dangers of those shockingly beguilingly adverbs.

Beliefs represented by individual authors are not necessarily shared by all members of ICW.


  • Lisa Buffaloe

    Lisa Buffaloe is a happily married mom, multi-published author, and speaker. Lisa loves to encourage others that regardless of past or present situations, God’s tender, unending love provides healing, restoration, renewal, and joy. When Lisa’s not writing, she enjoys taking long walks with her husband and exploring God’s beautiful nature.

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