Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Evil -ly

By Christine Thackeray

So I went to the LDS Storymakers Conference last week and its effects are still sifting through my brain. One thing that was stressed was how we should avoid using words that end in "-ly" as much as possible. It is part of the "show not tell" theory.

Well, this weekend I also got to pick up my first book from CFI, "The Crayon Messages; A Visiting Teaching Adventure," hot off the presses- it was wonderful. But the next day on the ride home I read every word again and was pricked every time there was an -ly word. This sentence almost stabbed me clear through-

  • "You are new, and the ladies from the Mormon Church, who probably knew exactly what they were doing, strapped you with a totally incoherent visiting teaching companion and a bunch of inactives?"

Actually, the story is so incredibly good, I really think the reader will probably simply overlook my many silly faux pas rather easily. Wouldn't you agree?


Rebecca Talley said...

I was at CFI and saw your book, too. How exciting. Isn't it super cool to hold it in your hands for the first time?

I'm looking forward to reading it :)

Marcia Mickelson said...

I think readers will overlook them too. Besides, I don't think 'probably' and 'totally'
count. It's more like--angrily, madly, happily, terribly--adverbs like that. So, you can rest assured.

Lee Ann Setzer said...

Wow--you can read every word of your book! I have a hard time looking at the silly things again (other than admiring the cover).

Congratulations! What a feeling!

Anonymous said...

Agreed. In particular adverbs should be used sparingly. However, as a university instructor and author I have learned not to judge others' writing styles too harshly, as long as they are grammatically correct. There are many ways to say the same thing. Some ways are better than others in terms of being more lucid and easier to follow - one sign of good writing.

Marsha Ward said...


Thank you for giving yourself a byline at the top of your piece. It's so helpful to know who is writing which piece in a group blog--without having to scroll down to see who posted it.

Congrats to you and Shirley and Rebecca and Sidne and a couple of the guys who do this. I know I've missed a couple of people who are good about doing this, but please know I appreciate it!