It's the first Wednesday of the month. Time to confess our insecurities. Here is mine, and if you want to sign up or check out other member posts, GO HERE.
As a relatively new writer who's still finding her voice, I get confused about the rules. And that's mostly because I see people breaking them all the time, even bestselling authors.
What's good and what's bad in the writing world?
First, there's the verb thing: was, were, are and is are bad. They're weak.
In the bestselling I Am Number Four, by Pittacus Lore, the whole first chapter is a monologue littered with weak verbs, "was"ing and "were"ing planted right on the surface for everyone to see. And it didn't bother me. It engaged me. I wanted to know more.
And then the weak adverbs, words ending in "ly" - they're bad, too. Yet JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame used adverbs relentlessly (yes, pun intended). And it didn't bother me. I find her writing cozy and comforting. I actually wonder if adverbs are what makes her writing "cozy," perhaps because they take the edge off of using the harsher, stronger verbs. I don't really know.
Here's my confession: I secretly love adverbs. A terrible weakness, I know.
But in JKR's case, adverbs worked! I wonder if the first 12 publishers she sent her MS to only looked at the abundance of adverbs and rejected it, without taking in the content! I wonder how many times publishers rejected Pittacus Lore's MS because of the "was"s and "were"s, too. They broke the rules. They're bestsellers.
So when is it okay to employ "weak" writing?
And that begs the question: how can bad writers be bestsellers? And the answer has to be that reading preferences are completely subjective. If you have a good story and tell it well, breaking the rules sort of fall to the wayside.
So I get confused.
In the meantime, I am scared to use the weak "was" and "were" and I tremble ridiculously at the thought of using adverbs!
What are you afraid of?