Getting rid of adverbs

I use a program called Scrivener, and it highlights the problems in my writing. One of my weaknesses are adverbs. When I first write a scene, they help describe the scene. In a first draft that’s fine because as Terry Prachett said: “The first draft is just telling yourself the story”.

I find Scrivener highlights the adverbs in my writing enables to see the problem areas. Highlighted, the adverbs stand out. either, I replace the adverbs with a more apt description and stretch my imagination. A rewarding task. Or I can delete because to delete declutters my words and makes my intending meaning clear. Also, a rewarding task. Either way, I consider whether the adverb is essential. On the rare occasion, it stays.

A Character Sketch

This is a short character sketch. Heads up – if you think a secret affair, you’d be wrong!

Tristan smiled back, assured, at his co-worker and they parted ways in the crisp, white corridor. If only he knew the truth, there is no way he could smile a goodbye. He’d escort his twisted arse – blue scrubs and all – out the hospital doors … never to return. Instead, his mop-haired co-worker allowed his lanky bod go with an innocent, parting smile. Tristan turned, nudged the horn rimmed glasses he didn’t need in place and a slow, lazy grin brightened his face as he made his way to the emergency rooms rubbing the engraved disk at his neck. The Emergency Rooms were the perfect place to hide his true identity.

Last night satisfied him like never before – what had it been? Was last night sweeter because the woman was his co-worker’s wife? He wanted that satisfaction again.

Tristan arrived at the emergency rooms as nurses bustled to the urgent bidding of doctors behind curtains.

“Tristan, over here,” yelled a doctor. “Get a bag A+ blood. Set up a transfusion. Quickly.”

Every fibre of his being fought the mischief of setting up an O negative transfusion instead, but he resisted. He wasn’t throwing away all he’d worked for. He hadn’t travelled half way across this world in this body, in the prime of its life, to upset the rare, exhilarating moments like last night.

The memory of last night kept him steady and he set up the A+ transfusion as asked. If he did as asked, then he’d blend and despite having to behave going against his very nature. Besides, he feared to lose the gift he’d been given. If anyone guessed his true identity, he’d become a lab rat if she didn’t destroy him first. For now, his fun needed to remain in the shadows and seem unconnected to him. Life was a prison controlled by the disk sealed around his neck and her.


What is tone?

Physios mumble I have tone and, over time, I’ve personally experienced what tone means to me. Imagine a steel rod and trying to bend the rod and the rod unintentionally resisting … that is tone to me. I don’t mean it, stiff tone automatically happens despite my wishing it would stop. Try bending my knee if I’m not ready and my leg will fight to stay straight. My leg can cooperate but I need to move into the right position and I need time for my thought, “relax”, to register with my brain. Move my leg too soon and you could break your biceps.

The best remedy I have found for my tone is hydrotherapy or cycling (the FES bike). I don’t like taking drugs. After either session the tone in my leg relaxes quicker and responds almost normal but that doesn’t last long. Within a few hours, my tone returns. No wonder I like keeping up rehab. Whether I like it or not, tone is a part of my life and this is how I manage it.

A writing exercise

At the writing course I’m doing we were tasked with writing 500 words inspired by what we first heard on the radio. This is my effort:

I am ashamed to admit, water cascading over me in the shower, alone and staring at the blanket of white paint above my head in bed, sitting over the porcelain bowl and in the dancing golden grass fields by home – I just wanna keep calling your name. I am the solemn ghd-hair brunette at the front corner desk of our class with my nose in my laptop.

You are a God.

With your baseball biceps, sandy-blonde tousled hair and Roman nose. Girls vie for your attention at the back of the class, but not I – surely, if I approached, you would see and hear nothing, even if I wore my best purple sweater. You’d be worse than my Dad who never sees me half the time, like I were some apparition. People whisper I resemble my mother – luscious chocolate hair, coal eyes, hourglass legs and deep dimples. Personally, I don’t see any resemblance because my mum was drop dead gorgeous … something I most certainly am not.

A shadow shaded me, “Emma, there’s a party tonight. Wanna come?”

Pinch me. Is Chris really talking to me? The God? “W-with you?”

His smile blinded me. “Of course with me, silly.”


“Cool. Pick you up at eight.” He turned and half way to his desk the girls around it dissolved into fits of giggles. Curious.


The base thumped “doof doof” and raised voices hummed in a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd as Emma entered, wearing her hugging white dress, beside Chris. He ducked away to fetch drinks while she stood in the doorway like a lonely Nigel.

Without warning, someone spilled a drink over her, then someone else and another – red wine, rum and red “cordial”- an artist would be proud of the canvas her dress became. She fought a waterfall of tears as she glimpsed Chris’s ashen face emerge holding their drinks. Flicking the drinks from her arms, she stormed out the front door.

Emma stumbled towards the road, searching for a cab and ignored the pointing, hundred eyeballs and open laughter directed her way.

“Emma,” yelled Chris behind her.

She turned and accused, “You set me up.”

“Cut to the chase, eh?” he said and paused a moment. He shrugged. “Thought I could prevent it.”

“I hope you’re proud of yourself,” she said and turned her back on him. She scalded herself for not listening to her instincts and any illusion of a perfect Chris exploded to smithereens.

He rushed to her side. “I’ll drive you home.”

“Why?” her voice cracked.

“So you’re home safe?”

“I don’t mean that. Why set me up only to try stop it?”

“Um…” he contemplated and swallowed. “You’re nice and a freaking genuine girl. You feel me?”

“Why should I believe you?”

“I’m here, aren’t I?”

Death – why is it so?

A short poem:

Death fascinates adults worldwide

Hollywood treats death as entertainment

While doctors dedicate their lives to treat sick and injured

Babes, young, middle-aged and old – despite geography – deaths snatches undiscriminating

Why is it so?


Unconsciousness replicates sleep.

If we don’t fear sleep or unconsciousness, why fear death?

Death comes in car accidents, cancer, heart disease, stroke and a myriad of ways

Sometimes we expect death, sometimes death smashes and grabs

Why is it so?


Do we fear death, unbeknownst to even ourselves?

Hospitals teem with patients, their message falling on deaf ears

Every day is a blessing – do we perceive truth behind the veil?

Humankind exudes intelligence but we cling to bad food

Why is it so?


The news portrays death so fleeting, so blasé

Wars, accidents, freak weather and disease

We are horrified … but are we truly affected?

Life must carry on

Why is it so?


Sky diving, bungy jumping, walking a tightrope or countless other dangers

Thrills to make life worthwhile

Smudging the line beside death

What is our morbid fascination?

Why is it so?


Work consumes and possesses us

A true vampire embracing our lives

We work on the cusp of sickness or death

Our loyalty resolute

Why is it so?


I fail to grasp why.