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Remove Words Ending in “ly”

Now we will concentrate on getting rid of words that end in “ly.” If you did the second exercise, you’ve already removed some of the “ly” words when you eliminated your dialogue tags such as “You can’t come in!” she said sternly, now reads “You can’t come in!” Again, we do this to avoid interrupting the reader and dictating the characters reaction or tone. If you must add more, use action or emotion. “You can’t come in!” she slammed the door.

What about non-dialogue adverbs with “ly” endings? When you take a closer look at your sentences, you will find many words are redundant. Some examples are quickly jumped, slowly crawled, quickly ran, hotly contested, and the machine gun fired rapidly. When you think of jumped, you don’t think of a slow action. When you think of crawled, you don’t think of a fast action. When something is being contested, you don’t imagine holding hands and sipping lemonade together, and when you think of a machine gun, you don’t think of an occasional shot here and there. The moral: Don’t intrude in your readers experience by telling them the obvious.

Your Assignment

Using your first chapter, type ly (with a space after it) in your find tool and remove any words that are redundant, or if part of a dialogue tag, replace the tag with action or emotion.

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