Posted by: victanguera | January 13, 2010

Writing Prompt #124

Someone I follow on twitter asked the question:

What is a better way to say “rubbed furiously”, as in she rubbed furiously at a large wet stain on her dress.

In that phrase, the adverb doesn’t convey what the writer wants. Consider this instead:

She brushed at her dress with short, sharp strokes. Her hands fluttered over the material, increasing the wet stain on her dress.

You can go further with that. What does her face look like? Does she grip her dress when she can’t remove the stain? Is it blood? Water? Why is she trying to remove it? Why furiously and not anxiously? The questions becomes “what are you trying to say”.

So for today’s prompt, consider your adverbs. What are you trying to convey via that one word? Adverbs tell us what we should feel, but how could you better show us and action and let us come to our own conclusions about what the character must feel in that situation. Circle all your adverbs, and dig down to the base of the emotion behind it and show us that emotion.

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