Why Adverbs Are The Tequila Of Writing Dialogue

TVWriter™ visitor Marcia Anonymous (not her real name, in case you wondered) recently sent us this article, found at South African writing site WritersWrite. According to Marcia:

When I first saw the title, “Why Adverbs are the Tequila of Writing Dialog,” I got all huffy and immediately barked out, “No! She’s wrong.” But now that I’ve read it I understand and recommend Mia Botha’s point. I’m also kind of embarrassed about what she says about tequila here. Seems like it’s way TMI. Not about writing, but about Ms.Botha. Oh well. It’s nothing a little Tequila Blu Reposado won’t fix. Maybe LB and Ms. Botha will both join me?

LB says to tell you he’s hoisting one…or two…or three right now. Meanwhile, for the rest of us, here’s the article:

by Mia Botha

I have been writing about dialogue these past few weeks.
Today, I want to talk about adverbs and why you should try to avoid them.

Adverbs tell us how something was done. You should rather try to show
us how it was done. When I talk about adverbs I want you to be pay close
attention to the words that end in –ly, namely adverbs of manner. Instead of using these, I want you to try to use
verbs, but not any old verb will do. I want you to use strong verbs, for example, stride instead of walk, sprint or race instead of run.
Knowing which verbs to use will be easier if you know your
character well. Think of the difference between a woman who strides and a woman
who shuffles. Each verb creates a different person or a different scene.
You don’t have to obliterate adverbs, but often they are
redundant or could be replaced by a strong verb. Adverbs are the tequila of writing. There is no such thing
as one tequila and there is no such thing as one adverb. Once you have used
one, more will sneak in. Be careful.
When all is said
That said I want to talk about the word said. Said is
awesome. Use it. Don’t replace it with words like admonished or exclaimed.
Stephen King recommends using them only 10% of the time. It’s good advice. Said
is invisible to a reader.
Below is an example of dialogue with adverbs and verbs other
than said. I used the prompt: ‘Keep your morals away from me’.
“Don’t do it.” Alice demanded angrily.
“Keep your morals away from me.” Janet said snidely as she
stood over John, tightly tied up in the corner.
“You’ve never minded my morals before.” Alice retorted
sarcastically.