The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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this is strange and uncomfortable and also, stop now
children of dune - leto 1
I feel very mea culpa because I have never really understood the entire anti-adverb thing in fic. Until now, because instead of reading an otherwise really interesting fic, I get distracted counting how many times the word 'softly' is used. And soft. And all variations of that word there are.

Answer: may need to paste this into word and do it properly, as I keep losing count around 'way too many'.

I can tell what she was going for (and is actually pulling off decently), but that's why we have betas and seriously, the beta should have said "you realize you used this four times in a paragraph, right?" I can see the betas name. I may or may not be judging. Or possibly sulking because I'm still mentally counting 'softly' again. Gah.

(It doesn't actually help that every time I start getting judgy, I have flashbacks to writing Flight (link is to me hating it in several font colors) where I possibly offended the laws of adverbs. A lot. Knowing you have no high ground does tend to take the wind from your grammatical sails big time.)

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Oh, I hate when the proofing is bad AND the beta's name is listed. It's like applying for a job as a proofreader and having typos in your cover letter!

I think many people do conflate "beta" with "person who reads it through and says 'this is awesome! post it soon so I can comment!!!eleventy47!'"

I confess I also used my former beta in this way... and was devastated when she upped and left LJ and abandoned me to constructively critical betas. I don't think I've recovered.

*runs away*

Also: what is eleventy47??? I think I get the elventy but the mysterious 47...???

well, the thing is, everyone gets something different out of posting fic, and everyone writes for their own reasons; because of that, not everyone is as concerned with, for lack of a better term, craft, as others are. the technical details are less important, to some people, than getting the idea across, or perhaps just getting the idea ought of one's head and into another medium. some people write for comments, some people write for themselves, some people write because they'd chew their own arm off if they couldn't. whatever the reasons, I think we all want to be thought of as 'good' but what our relative definitions of 'good' are may vary. all this to say, depending on those many factors, one might have a different idea of what a beta should do and be, of what place that person should occupy in the process. I don't know that I'm willing to say that there's a right or wrong definition.


I think that there's a generally accepted definition, and that is that a beta is not an editor, but zie is the person who makes sure one's work is legible, understandable and reasonably grammatically accurate.

because the point of sharing one's writing -- no matter the impetus for its creation -- is to communicate, and so I'd say that the only work that's a failure is that which fails to communicate. work that's hard to read, for whatever reason, fails to communicate.

blah blah blah, this is a subject on which I've taken a lot of positions over the years, but I think this is the one I'm most comfortable.

and! the 47 is meaningless, I was just making fun of keysmashing. :)

I used to have this little widgety Firefox add-on for bloggers called the Ly Detector - it would search for, highlight and count all instances of the letter combination "ly" in a text entry field. good for a bit of bracing self-revelation. I don't use too many adv-- oh. oh, I see.

I'm reminded of the fabulous Reasoning With Vampires. She likes to point out Stephenie Meyers's copious adverb abuse.

And yeah, I feel you on the lack of high ground. ALL of my first drafts are full of ly.

Stephenie Meyers and J.K. Rowling, too. It is clearly a Rule of Blockbuster Bestseller Novel Writing: copiously abuse the adverb. There must be a correlation.

But judge not the glory of the adverb by its bestselling users!

Or something.

I feel I must enter the fray of this thread as not for naught is my middle name 'the adverbial' (as per LJ user profile and all that).

May I point out that what you object to is not the adverb as such (it seems to me) but its relentless repetition? And you don't even seem to object to the adverb 'softly' but to anything with the stem and word 'soft' in it. So! Yes! This is about repetition and bad writing not about the wondrousness of that awesome linguistic particle, THE ADVERB.

(And yes, in my head every adverb is THOR. That doesn't even make sense.)

Yours, cordially, adverbially and lobelially


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