Writing 101 – Death to Adverbs

It’s now Thursday Day 9 of the challenge but first I must write Day 8.  This is a day late because of an emergency yesterday that didn’t allow me to post a blog.

So Day 8 and the challenge is:

Go to a local café, park, or public place and report on what you see. Get detailed: leave no nuance behind.

Thoughtful writers create meaning by choosing precise words to create vivid pictures in the reader’s mind. As you strive to create strong imagery, show your readers what’s going on; avoid telling them.

Today’s twist: write an adverb-free post. If you’d rather not write a new post, revisit and edit a previous one: excise your adverbs and replace them with strong, precise verbs.

My partner has been having trouble seeing clearly.  He has complained about a shield coming down and almost covering his eye, therefore making reading very difficult.  So an appointment was made for the optometrist.

I dropped him off at the appointed time and then took a leisurely stroll around the city shops.  I had only 30 minutes to spare so this necessitated restricting my visit to two shops.

Kirks doorman

photo – wellingtonnz.com

The first shop was the top department store in the country.  When one enters through the front doors (opened I might add by a gentleman in a top hat and dark uniform coat) one is immediately assailed by the heady mix of perfumes, quietly playing music and beautiful (mainly) young things telling us of the wonders of their particular product.  “Would madam like to try this new perfume?”  Hence the many smells lingering in the air or “Would madam have time for a mini facial today?” or “Would madam care to try this new cream that will perform miracles for her skin?” and on and on.

Here we meet the stay at home Mums and wives with time on their hands willing and happy to spend a few hours browsing around the store.  Of course, during the browsing many do buy one or two or even more products.

A quick walk through the ladies wear department where the salesladies are all smiles while busily adjusting the racks of clothes and returning those that have been tried on and discarded to their rightful place.  Then shoes where the sales assistants have more time to chat and some even know my name.

Then having bought nothing, out the door, across the main street – busy with cars and buses, bikes and motorbikes – to another department store immediately opposite the first.

This is a middle of the road department store.  There’s a more hurried pace here.  Businesswomen and some men of course, on a lunch break with only 1 hour to eat and do any shopping they need.  Not for them the leisurely browsing through racks of clothes or stands of make up products or stacks of handbags and shoes.  They mostly know what they are looking for and in the limited amount of time they have they intend to find it.

While the perfume and make up counters are also sited at the front of the store, there doesn’t seem to be quite the need to assail one with products perfumes, make up etc.

I love the first store now that I am retired and can spend time seeking out a perfect product, a gift for a friend or something for me, but I understand the attraction of the second store to those people with limited time to spend shopping.

And the emergency that made it impossible to write a post yesterday?  We left the optometrists after an hour long appointment and had decided that we would now go on to pick up some picture framing, when the phone went asking my partner to go immediately to the surgeons for another consultation.

We went into a very busy waiting room.  We walked in and my partner gave his name – they were expecting him but we were told to take a seat. I looked around the waiting room which, apart from the phones ringing and the staff talking as they made decisions and small talk, was subdued. Here was a man in a motorised wheelchair talking on the phone, making arrangements to be picked up, a tearful woman just emerging from the examination room to speak with her friend/husband/partner.  Another couple were discussing an article in a magazine, yet another woman was paying the bill.  But it was a totally different atmosphere to either of the stores in which I had been earlier.

Eventually my partner was called and at the end of another hour was told that he would need an operation to rectify the problem. So what started out to be just another day in Paradise turned into a stressful day for him

Please note – I really don’t know if I have written an adverb free post and would appreciate any comments on this.

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7 thoughts on “Writing 101 – Death to Adverbs

  1. I think the atmosphere in these different places you described very well, Judith. I would not know whether it was showing or telling. Anyhow, there must have been showing since I could picture everything to myself as though I had been there. Adverbs? “busily adjusting” would that be using an adverb? What is the purpose of not using adverbs?

    • Thanks so much for the comment Uta. They were certainly very different places, 2 department stores and an ophthalmologist’s waiting room. And in answer to your question – I don’t know why one wouldn’t use adverbs in the right places So….

  2. It’s nice to see you back Judith and loved your post but am sorry to hear about your partners surgery. When is it scheduled or has it already taken place? Wishing him the very best for a speedy recovery. I have breast cancer and surgery is on Oct 7th. Been a bit of a wild ride the last few months. I have been reading your posts and will continue but may not always comment.

  3. I wouldn’t know about the adverbs, but I did get the feeling of being there.
    Hope all goes well for your “significant other”, fingers crossed for a short wait. 🙂

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