Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Liberal Use of Adjectives


Adjectives are my old friends , I overload my writing with them and it is a very hard habit to break. A creative writing tutor once said to me something like "don't just write hair, write wavy black hair. Describe what you are writing about." I took that advice to heart. Now, however on my creative writing degree people keep saying to me that what I have written is good but I ought to lose lose some of the adjectives. I know in my heart they are right. Too many adjectives can be tiresome, especially in poetry. But it's in my fiction writing that I am struggling with it the most. Hillock doesn't seem adequate enough when I can say "mossy green hillock" it's a dilemma. Do I lose both adjectives or just one of them.

3 comments:

theprovocativecynic said...

I too struggled with this in the first year - especially with the fiction. I think what I've learned now is that, to use your example, whereas you might have said 'mossy green hillock', you would instead set up the existence of the hillock earlier by getting your character to it, ('she stopped beside a small hillock'), and then say something like 'and leaned against the moss that covered it'. (Sorry, that sounds cr*p but you can hopefully see what I mean!)

Or you could try something like, 'the hillock was green with moss'? It still provides the same information but without all the 'y' endings......

Hope this helps - don't despair as your work looks really promising.... and it's really early days yet. I'm still telling myself that whenever I despair - but the progress of the third years has been really remarkable when you look at their work now and compare it to the archived stuff from their first year on the bulletin board.

pupski said...

yes I must look at their older stuff and compare. I know I shoildn't worry too much at this stage it must be in my nature!
Thanks for the encouragement!

Anvilcloud said...

I suppose there's a fine line between painting the picture and over-painting it. As I understand it, painters have to know when enough is enough and not add those extra dabs.