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Adjectives


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Posted on Jun 12, 2012 1:12:48 PM PDT
Personally I find myself only using adjectives when either:

a) the object/person is important, either then or later on
b) if it is required to set the tone

Otherwise, most objects in a story these days are known by the audience. The only other time to use an adjective on a normal object is if it has a distinguishing characteristic.

IMO, more authors need to realize that over description is bad, and that the audience is smarter than they give them credit for.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2012 12:54:17 PM PDT
Andie says:
Hear, hear! Oldog, I second that! You seem to have a way with adjectives.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2012 7:53:20 AM PDT
I vote that Oldog rewrite the distracting, adjective laden book!

Posted on Jun 12, 2012 7:37:27 AM PDT
Oldog_Oltrix says:
I've heard it is helpful to think of adjectives and adverbs as stage directions in a play. "Sarah looked at her smiling father." and "Sarah looked at her furious father, her eyes wet and wide." are two different stories, and "Sarah looked at her father." doesn't tell either of those stories. Obviously, if an adjective or adverb isn't essential to shaping a scenario or relating a tale, it shouldn't be there.

If Daniel Radcliffe could play the role of the man at the door, then there's no reason for "tall" or "bald".

I've also heard it is helpful to think of adjectives and adverbs as seasonings that add richness and character, while remembering that seasoning is a subtle art.
"She opened the door and studied the man outside."
"With her thin white hand, she opened the warped door slightly; and cautiously studied the man standing on her ratty doormat."
"She was frail, anxious, and lived in a crappy apartment. There was a knock at her door. A guy was standing there."

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 1:57:11 PM PDT
Andie says:
That's exactly why it is distracting! I find myself counting the adjectives in some passages.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 10:18:38 AM PDT
Excellent witty observation!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 10:02:26 AM PDT
OldAmazonian says:
Abject artistic failure

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 9:55:14 AM PDT
That book sounds like a high school writing assignment on using adjectives. I think it would be very distracting, also, because you'd just be waiting for the next adjectives instead of being immersed in the story.

Initial post: Jun 11, 2012 7:36:33 AM PDT
Andie says:
Just wondering about everyone's thoughts on the use of adjectives in fiction. I'm reading a book now that isn't bad, but the use of adjectives to describe each and every noun is pretty distracting. I've never been distracted by adjectives before so I'm assuming that it's just noticeable here because the author uses them so frequently. Often in groups of 2. As in, "She opened the green, wooden door with her thin, white hand, and noticed a tall, bald man standing on her old, ratty doormat."

I know many of you are writers or are at least knowledgeable about writing, so I wonder...is there a "right" way to use adjectives? How many is too many?
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Discussion in:  Fiction forum
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Initial post:  Jun 11, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 30, 2012

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