Monday, November 18, 2013

NaNoWriMo - Pitfall #3 - Adverbs, Dialogue Tags and Other Horrid Things

Okay, I know it's out of order, but stuff happens.  I'm all NaNo brained right now anyway.

Adverbs, Dialogue Tags and  :gasp: Other Horrid Things...

In this series of Pitfalls, I'm trying to point out those little things that can hamper your ability to get those 50K words out before the end of the month.  Today, I'd like to talk about NaNo Pitfall #3, in which we talk about those dread devices: Adverbs, Dialogue Tags and Other Horrid Things.

Yes, yes, we've all heard how horrible both adverbs and excessive dialogue tags can be.  We're not supposed to have them - or at least not be heavy-handed or weird with them.

"Forget all that!" she shouted peremptorily.


Which is to say, while you're pounding out your NaNo words, don't bother nitpicking these things.  If you want your character to shout and you feel the need to tack an adverb on there, too, don't waste time editing those words out.  Editing is for later.  Let your fingers do the typing, and you can chastise them later for the crap they spewed onto your pages.

I look at it this way.  I let my fingers do the talking (or rather my subconscious mind speaking through my fingers, but you get the gist), and more often than not those dialogue tags and adverbs are left as clues to how my brain wants the scene to be laid out later.  Without them, each scene would take me loads more time to write.  And as we all know, NaNo is not about taking your time.  It's about getting words on paper because...

You can't fix what ain't there.

If your story needs adverbs, type them happily.  And if you need a dialogue tag...  "Say it, shout it, ask it," she chanted.  ;o)   

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  1. And therein lies my problem (OK, one of my many problems) - I'm writing clean! And my editor brain that says "Avoid too many adverbs, don't rely on dialogue tags, show don't tell" is slowing down the 'typing away madly'! It's kind of like when you learn about POV/head-hopping and suddenly, books you loved before stall and stutter!! Stoopid rules!!

    1. This one doesn't apply as much as it used to for me, Janet. It's one of those 'the more I write, the less I break the rules' things. But yeah, they are stupid. "Go forth and type madly," she asserted. ;o)

  2. "We don't need no sticking rules. This is NaNoWriMo!" the ditzy, silver-haired woman with wrinkly face and stiff fingers shouted out loudly at the room filled with other determined people just waiting for this type of permission.

    You're welcome. ;)

  3. **STINKING!!! Dang it. I'm so far gone I can neither type nor edit. Nor have I eaten today. Hrmmmmm. That might be the malfunction. *wanders off*

    1. I knew what you meant. Now go eat. Food. Not cookies. Not coffee. Real stuff.... like pizza!

  4. I think this would apply to any first draft. Write now, edit later.


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