The Adverb Problem and Why Authors Should Care

I was asked about things like this recently and lo, this appeared in my inbox. An interesting post by Ryan Lanz about why adverbs (-ly words) can be an indication of a sign of weakness in writing – force-feeding (telling) the reader rather than guiding (showing) them.

Thanks, Ryan.

A Writer's Path


by Gary Smailes

In this article I will set out to explain why so many famous authors (Stephen King being perhaps the most vocal) warn other authors against the use of adverbs. In fact, King’s hatred of adverbs is so intense that he’s been quoted as saying, “Adverbs are evil.” You will discover the role of adverbs in fiction writing, and I’ll demonstrate why removing adverbs from your writing will make your book more enjoyable to read. In short, I’ll explain just why adverbs are evil.

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Trafalgar, 1805

This is an oddity, perhaps, but I recently rediscovered the notes and display material I made for a display and diorama I arranged in 2005 for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. I put together a host of display materials and arranged with some friends to have some 1:1200 models of the ships involved placed on a large, seascaped table to illustrate the centre of the battle – the main part of the British columns and the centre of the French and Spanish lines. I no longer have any photos of the final layout (rats!) but have the main display materials.

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What not to do when writing a synopsis

A really useful summary of synopsis contents from Charmedward. It’s also worth checking out her guest post on Submissions at


In a continuation of my “What not to do when writing” series, I’ve got here a quick guide on things that I’ve seen people do in their synopses. Read it, learn it, never do it.


  • Don’t forget to mention your genre. If you’re sending your manuscript to a publisher who only deals with one genre, I would still mention it. Reassure the reader that you’ve sent your work to the right place.
  • Avoid technical jargon and if you can’t, make sure to explain it. A synopsis is an explanation, don’t confuse us even more.
  • If you go more than a paragraph without mentioning a character’s name, you’ve probably focused on the wrong thing. Realistically, every sentence should mention a character.If you manage to write the entire synopsis without naming your main character/s then you’ve DEFINITELY done wrong. (This really happened.)
  • Please use full sentences…

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Shipton Shorts: One week left….

Only a week left to write a 1500-2000 word story!

Plenty of time when a writer is encouraged to write at least 1,000 words a day. 🙂

Facebook: Shipton Shorts


Googling ‘Shipton Shorts’ does just as well!

Anyone hearing about us on the local radio stations [Castledown Radio, SpireFM (Salisbury) or BreezeFM (Andover)] can announce when / where they heard about us on the radio and use this as their local link.

Have fun – look forward to reading your stories.

Life goes on

The readings were well-chosen and well-read; the homage to Gloria’s life was exceptionally well-written and spoken, Richard deserving huge amounts of credit, and it was well-attended.  But funerals are never easy. I’ve been to a fair few in not only a private capacity but in a professional capacity, too.  Even for the guys in the black cars it can be difficult and a professional detachment has to be built and maintained. Damp eyes are always present, grief pulling hard on the ropes it wraps around a chest.

This funeral was different.  Sure, there were a few damp eyes, but very few; there was also an air of melancholy and shared loss.  But – that’s a big word – but there was also a huge amount of relief and respect for a talented woman who expressed love and concern for all in her charge and who she loved.  Her life-story revealed numerous challenges that were faced and overcome, not just from being widowed with a young son, but also a life spent dedicated to giving others a better chance at life and living. Those wishing to pay their respects – and I believe that is _really_ what the mourners were doing – filled the church.

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