Advice from Professional Writers (6)

A few weeks ago, I began a series of posts with words of wisdom from different authors. I ‘collect’ these whenever I come across them. I will share these with you – (my readers) for October and November as I work on my outline for NaNoWriMo, as well as teaching my class, ‘Mustang Patty Teaches Writing.’ I hope you find them as valuable as I do.

I am continuing to use the information I culled from Jerry Jenkin’s* writing class. He wrote a compelling article about editing, and today I would like to share what he has to say about adjectives.

‘Alright, another one: don’t be an adjectival maniac. Trust me, only unpublished creative writing teachers and your relatives like adjectives. Good writing consists of powerful nouns and verbs, not adjectives. Let me repeat that: good writing consists of powerful nouns and verbs, not adjectives. The right adjective can help, but one too many is always too many. The great writer Sol Stein says this about adjectives: One plus one equals one half. Meaning that you should choose the best of two because using two cuts the effectiveness in half. Whenever you’re tempted to use two adjectives, pick the better one so you don’t cut your power in half. That doesn’t mean never use an adjective—just always use the best one.’ 

As I edit and work with other writers, I notice that a lot of us DO go crazy with adjectives. It is as if in our attempt to ‘show rather than tell,’ we feel we have to describe every little detail

Try to incorporate this tidbit into your writing.

Until next time,

~Mustang Patty~

*Jerry Bruce Jenkins is an American writer. He is best known for the Left Behind series, written for Tim LaHaye.

Born: September 23, 1949 (age 72), Kalamazoo, Michigan

Published by Mustang Patty

I am finally a full-time author, who writes legal thrillers, how-to- books, short stories, flash fiction, a tiny bit of poetry, and Blog posts. My published works include 'Guilty until Proven Innocent,' 'Innocent for the Moment,' and 'Moment by Moment.' This is a trilogy called the Jill Adair Series. Additionally, I've written a collection of short stories about my dogs, Howie and Bernie - with a 2nd Collection coming in late 2021. I'm also coordinating an Anthology of Short Stories called, '2021 Indie Authors Short Story Anthology.' This book will be available on on August 1st of 2021. (The 2020 Indie Authors Short Story Anthology is currently available on - the collection includes 30 stories, written by 18 different Authors from three continents.) I am married to my wonderful hubby of over 37 years, and I have two grown children, named Heather and Gregory. I've been blessed with two beautiful grandbabies, Heather Rose and Logan Ernest.

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