“The road to hell is paved with adverbs”, wrote Stephen King in ‘On Writing’. As a rule, I agree. Totally. They tend to weaken a sentence. As do most adjectives, for that matter.
Adverbs, to my opinion, are especially dreadful in dialogues:
“Well, you tell me”, she said perkily.
If a character is perky, then make her say perky things. Or better still: make her say things in a perky way. Simply calling her actions or lines perky, isn’t going to cut it. A character’s voice should be made clear through dialogue and actions, not adverbs.
The same goes for about every adverb you can think about: sadly, aggressively, hesitantly,…
Yet sometimes, adverbs just crawl up on me. Most of those die a silent death during rewrites. But some get to me. Sometimes, it just feels so wrong to cut them. Because it would leave the sentence… naked, plucked, harsh.
Still, I cannot remember one sentence from literature containing an adverb, that really, really stuck.
Right now, I’m in serious doubt whether my protagonist is searching a bunch of front gardens for a place to hide, hurriedly or not. Are his eyes wandering jitterly, agitatedly? You tell me.
How do you feel about adverbs?