I’m editing today.
In preparation, I began my morning by reading a few pages from the book of Acts, hoping to bolster my faith in miracles. Then (in what may be an atypical transition) I picked up a book by Stephen King.
“The road to hell is paved with adverbs,” he said, and I believe him. I opened my manuscript and typed “LY” into the FIND option, to see what I could see.
Oh. My. God. (And I mean that in the most reverent, deity-acknowledging, flat-out grateful I was blind and now I see kind of way). I eliminated an embarrassing 1,064 adverbs from my manuscript, at least 300 of which were the word “actually.” I never realized this before, but if “actually” lit up in neon orange each time I typed it, my pages would read like a tribute to pumpkin pie.
To all my writing friends wrestling with pudgy manuscripts – Use the FIND tool. Type “LY.” Delete. It will change your life.