Saturday, November 3, 2012

NaNoWriMo Pitfall #3

And now for part 3 of my reprisal posts...

Adverbs and Dialogue Tags  :gasp:

In this series of Pitfalls, I'm trying to point out those little things that can hamper your ability to get those 50K words out before the end of the month.  Today, I'd like to talk about NaNo Pitfall #3, in which we talk about those dread devices: Adverbs and Dialogue Tags.

Yes, yes, we've all heard how horrible both adverbs and excessive dialogue tags can be.  We're not supposed to have them - or at least not be heavy-handed or weird with them.

"Forget all that!" she shouted peremptorily.


Which is to say, while you're pounding out your NaNo words, don't bother nitpicking these things.  If you want your character to shout and you feel the need to tack an adverb on there, too, don't waste time editing those words out.  Editing is for later.  Let your fingers do the typing, and you can chastise them later for the crap they spewed onto your pages.

I look at it this way.  I let my fingers do the talking (or rather my subconscious mind speaking through my fingers, but you get the gist), and more often than not those dialogue tags and adverbs are left as clues to how my brain wants the scene to be laid out later.  Without them, each scene would take me loads more time to write.  And as we all know, NaNo is not about taking your time.  It's about getting words on paper because...

You can't fix what ain't there.

If your story needs adverbs, type them happily.  And if you need a dialogue tag...  "Say it, shout it, ask it," she chanted.  ;o)   


  1. Yep, more great advice exactly when I need it - thanks, B.E. I caught myself this morning 'fixing' dialogue tags AND inappropriate verb usage!!! I love the reminder that all of those things are my brain setting the scene, creating atmosphere and tension, and possibly laying down some hints as to where the story could go or how I can layer it up when I get to the actual revisions.

    I'm off to get some more words on paper - and, damn it, I'm going to use adverbs galore :)

  2. I DO hate over discription and try my best not so write like a newbie, but it does seem like that is EXACTLY what NaNoWriMo brings out in me. LOL

    Great post series!