HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 25

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Jen Nipps
    Guest

    "...he retorted feelingly...."

    This is something that really got to me earlier today. I thought I'd see what you all thought/had to say about it.

    Have you heard the advice to use adverbs, especially -ly adverbs, as little as possible in your writing?

    Admittedly, there are instances in which you can use them where they are effective and pull their own weight. Many times, though, all they do is modify a weak verb that should be made stronger in order to serve its purpose better and to eliminate the adverb.

    I just finished reading a book by one of my favorite authors. In the middle of an argument between two characters, she says, "...he retorted feelingly...." ANother time, close to the end of the book, she says, "...he groaned feelingly."

    I might be able to overlook the first time. (Emphasis on might.) But twice is too much. "Feelingly" isn't exactly a word I would use anyway. There's too many interpretations for "feelingly." Besides that, in the context that was surrounding both uses of the word, it wasn't needed.

    It was an argument. How else would he have retorted? Here, I think "feelingly" was meant for "angrily" or something similar.

    At the end, the character who groaned "feelingly" was hurt. How else would he groan?

    I'm still rather baffled over this one. I have several of this author's books. And I've checked several out of the library. I think it's safe to say that I've read almost every book she has out. This is the first time I have ever really taken issue with her word choice.

    What do you think?

    ~Jen

  2. #2
    Wallace Cass
    Guest

    Re: "...he retorted feelingly...."

    Hi Jen,

    I think the big deal with that is that words like those are considered qualifiers along with words with -ing.

    In my opinion, the intensity of the sentence should be carried more by the dialogue than adding a qualifier after the retorted.

    I believe in the concept of "show, not tell". If the writer is putting a qualifier in there, they must be out to raise the emotional content of the passage higher than it already is. To me, that seems unnecessarily wordy and problematic to read.

    Heh, I just had to go look up the word because I had never seen it before.

    Just my two cents's worth. I could be wrong

    Wallace

  3. #3
    Jen Nipps
    Guest

    Re: "...he retorted feelingly...."

    I don't think you're wrong. It surprised me to see something like this in her work. The first time I saw "feelingly" used there, I let it slide, even though it did kind of rankle me. The second time, it's more along the lines of "What's UP with that??"

    ~Jen

  4. #4
    Irene Rheinwald
    Guest

    Re: "...he retorted feelingly...."

    "Retorted feelingly"? "Groaned feelingly"? Jen, you are spot on to say an adverb only modifies a weak verb - Crikey, couldn't the author find a stronger substitute? What happened to her thesaurus? Yes, it's vague, and not good English (however, if a character actually thinks and speaks like that, fine). I also agree with Wallace: dialogue should be enough to suggest the character's emotions. Either that, or describe some physical action following the retort/groan.

    Maybe it's a matter of an editor not having sufficient coffee to see him/her through a long night. If she's normally a good writer, that might be a reason. Who knows?

  5. #5
    Patricia Cooper
    Guest

    Re: "...he retorted feelingly...."

    This author obviously didn't edit concientiously.

    The first time I edit, I take out 99 percent of all the "thats".

    Then I take out 99 percent of all the adverbs.

    Then I find I have edited out practically 10 percent of unnecessary text and brought my word count down.

    Then I start editing, revising and rewriting.

    patC

  6. #6
    Roy J.
    Guest

    Re: "...he retorted feelingly...."

    "feelingly"?
    What the hell does that mean anyway? Everything has some sort of feeling/awareness unless it's like a block of wood or something--warm, sharp, smooth, bitter, ect.

    feelingly yours,
    -RJ

  7. #7
    Wallace Cass
    Guest

    Re: "...he retorted feelingly...."

    Apparently it has at least three meanings:

    1) easily moved emotionally
    2) deeply felt
    3) expressing emotion or sensitivity

    I got this from Merriam-Webster Online (http://www.m-w.com) and it appears that this word is one of those obsolete terms that isn't used much anymore.

    Such a strange and wonderful language we use, eh?

    Wallace

  8. #8
    Jen Nipps
    Guest

    Re: "...he retorted feelingly...." (Irene)

    >>I also agree with Wallace: dialogue should be enough to suggest the character's emotions. Either that, or describe some physical action following the retort/groan.<<

    By my way of thinking, the dialog made any kind of modifier irrelevant and redundant. Maybe it was a momentary slip.

    >>Maybe it's a matter of an editor not having sufficient coffee to see him/her through a long night. If she's normally a good writer, that might be a reason. Who knows?<<

    That's what I'd like to think. Or maybe the writer herself didn't have enough coffee? *s*

    ~Jen

  9. #9
    Jen Nipps
    Guest

    Re: "...he retorted feelingly...." (patC)

    I have to say I agree with you about the editing out "that" and adverbs.

    I have 12 books by this author. I have borowed five more from the library. This is the first time I've encountered this with her writing.

    I think that's why it got to me. Because I know she's better than that.

    Oh well. We all have off days, I suppose.

    ~Jen

  10. #10
    Colleen
    Guest

    Re: "...he retorted feelingly...." (patC)

    Said author must be doing something right. Did you say you have TWELVE books by this author?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts