UNPACK YOUR ADJECTIVES


Polly,

How've you been? Long time no see. I read your column about Steve. Ouch!

Overall, do you think your writing might be too reliant on adjectives? I wonder what would happen if you considered adjectives your enemy. With respect for Schoolhouse Rock, "It was a hairy bear, / it was a scary bear" doesn't quite have the impact of "To imagine that much hair on a man reminded me of my friend Steve. Even amid my fears of survival, I made a mental note to treat him to a back waxing."

I ponder for myself whether verbs don't make better descriptors than adjectives. If I were to force myself to use verbs in place of adjectives, I suspect I might mature. Then again, I am STUPID. And a whole bunch of other adjectives that a late-twenty-something, got-it-all-figured-out, imply-understanding- through-criticism, compensate-for-defects- in-diction-via-hyphenation writer might attach to stupid me.

It took me 27 minutes to write that last paragraph.

Sam Turner
<samt@dkny.com>









 
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