I am very pleased to be included in the latest Adverbially Challenged anthology, which is published on Thursday 30 March.
I don’t normally write flash fiction, although I enjoy reading it, but I couldn’t resist this challenge – to write a story of 100 words containing as many adverbs as possible.
Every writing workshop or ‘how to write’ manual or blog will tell you not to use adverbs, for good reason. Beginner authors invariably (see what I did there?) overuse them. I blame primary school teachers (sorry, Mrs Fry). We are encouraged to use adverbs in sentences as children to develop our language skills and our understanding. For many of us, the habit sticks.
I’m a big fan of breaking the rules as a writing exercise. (One idea I have had in the back of my mind for years is to try and write a story that subverts all of Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules of writing.) Breaking the rules forces you to think creatively. In this case – when are adverbs effective in fiction?
I tried to use them to counter expectations. No one needs to know that someone is smiling ‘happily’, but what if they’re smiling ‘icily’? I haven’t seen an advance copy of the book, so I’m looking forward to seeing how other writers interpreted the challenge and will write about it in a later post.
Profits from sales of the anthology will be donated to First Story. The charity brings talented professional writers into secondary schools serving low-income communities. They work with teachers and students to develop their creativity and communication skills.
It’s great to think that this anthology will help another generation of children learn how (not) to use adverbs!
Adverbially Challenged Volume 2 is edited by Christopher Fielden and was the idea of Mike Scott Thomson, who wrote the introduction to the book. Chris features many more writing challenges on his website, all for charity. I enjoyed writing mine, so why not have a go?
You can buy Adverbially Challenged Volume 2 in Kindle or paperback from Amazon.