SoCS, Writing

SoCS – Start and End with an Adverb

Day 128

SoCSStream of Consciousness Saturday (#SoCS) offered by Linda G. Hill. If you are interested, the rules and a link will be listed below the post.

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “ends with -ly.” Start your post with any adverb that ends in “-ly.” Bonus points if you end with an adverb too. Have fun!

Reluctantly, I am writing using adverbs this morning. You may wonder why I feel reluctant, so the best thing for me to do is to write about adverbs as well. The blame for reluctance falls on the shoulders of Stephen King.

Let’s start with his quote from On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft:

“I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops. To put it another way, they’re like dandelions. If you have one on your lawn, it looks pretty and unique. If you fail to root it out, however, you find five the next day… fifty the day after that… and then, my brothers and sisters, your lawn is totally, completely, and profligately covered with dandelions. By then you see them for the weeds they really are, but by then it’s—GASP!!—too late.”

I am not a huge Stephen King fan — his genre is not my thing. I did love his book on writing, however, and a few things stood out to me. The overuse of adverbs was one of them. I remember going through the exercise of rewriting sentences in search of better ways to be descriptive without the use of adverbs. I even went so far as to refresh my knowledge about when it is grammatically correct to begin and end a sentence with an adverb. Our language loves its rules.

As I was looking for the quote above, I noticed a number websites with articles on the pros and cons of Stephen King’s assault on adverbs. It made me chuckle. When I write, I am a bit colloquial in my dialogue, so following stringent ideas about such usage would weigh me down. Of course, I have not yet come face-to-face with an editor righting my wrongs, so I may very well get my attitude handed to me on a platter.

I am not sure how other writers feel about following grammatical rules. Is it the worry of the writer or the editor? My guess is both. As writers, we should have a certain command of the language. I know I still have bad habits. I overuse the word ‘that’, I like to start a sentence with the word ‘and’, and I still struggle with the good old Oxford comma — Grammarly likes it!

I think this stream of consciousness is drying up. It might be a good thing I only do this weekly.

Follow Linda G. Hill’s blog to write along every Saturday.

Here are the rules for SoCS:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!

Blog, Writing

Today Was a Mixed Bag

Day 91

Today was quiet. I had a few hours by myself which I spent listening to YouTube videos of favorite hymns. I started thinking about my Dad singing Steal Away and tried hard to find an arrangement that was similar to the one he often sang when we traveled in the car. I finally settled on a Tennessee Ernie Ford version which was almost identical. I think that must have been the version that my Dad had heard many times.

Flipping through many of the other hymns Ernie Ford sang put me in a bit of a melancholy mood. I sat here alone for a time in Mom’s Carriage House apartment and listened to old hymns — one after another — and just cried. Sometimes, I would ask mom if she remembered an old hymn and she would sing it to me. Such a special memory and one I hold dear to my heart.

All this took place while my husband and his sister met with the minister to make final decisions about the memorial service. Today was one of the difficult days, but full of such wonderful memories. Mom and I had many intimate conversations and I feel blessed that she trusted me with the things she shared with me. I will take them to my grave. That is the bond we had — one most people never realized.

On to Writing

One of the assignments for my class was to eavesdrop on a conversation as part of an exercise in studying dialogue. It sounded very sleuth-like and I was game to go about listening to other people talk to each other.

Hubby and I decided to go to Barnes and Nobel — one of our favorite destinations. We each ordered a peppermint latte (before the holiday season runs out) and I sat down next to a table immersed in conversation. It truly was revealing to listen and apply what I learned in Margaret Atwood’s class.

Afterward, I browsed through books and read jacket flaps. I was suddenly intrigued by what publishers write as the synopsis of the book. Now I am comparing what I write to what others have successfully written and also try to think about how my work would be summarized on the dust jacket of a book.

Self-Induced Homework

img_8332I decided I needed a short book to read. I flipped through books looking for examples of first, second and third person writing. I am learning so much! I came across Stephen King’s new book Elevation and decided it was the perfect size for occupying a few hours of emptiness.

Tonight I read about 1/3 of it. I may need to re-read it, though, because I am hyper-sensitive to writing style, dialogue, and character development to fully absorb what I’m reading.

Social Media

I also decided to create a GoodReads account and start giving myself some reading goals for the year. Stephen King made the first cut as my ‘currently reading’ bookshelf.

All in all, it was a full day — a mix of fond and difficult memories and a look to the future. Now it’s time to read a little more, then think about hitting the hay.

“There’s nothing more intimate in life than simply being understood. And understanding someone else.” 
Brad Meltzer