Saturday, 9 January 2010

Adjectives are overrated

Using adjectives can be impressive because it shows off the writer's vocabulary, but that's about it. The creativity lies hidden, and vocabulary is just something you can learn... creativity is lived and found within you. Creativity is what makes something artistic; it makes the poet a poet. But obviously, the logic and form shouldn't be set aside.

The writer who uses too many adjectives is a lazy and mediocre writer. In the sole reason that instead of them creating the image they wanted to present, the reader does it for himself or herself.

I suggest (but no one is obligated to follow) the further use of metaphors. Adjectives won't get you nearly as far as metaphors.

Please consider the following comparisons.

When a person in love with adjectives writes about silence, these lines may appear:

"Your vast absence of words has ultimately reached the concluding edge of forever"
- pretty good line. The person is stating that the huge quantity of silence the person has given him is about to reach the end of forever.

But Jeffrey McDaniel has a different kind of approach towards silence.

"I've been ignored by prettier women than you,
but none who carried the heavy pitchers of silence
so far, without spilling a drop."
- He used more words but he used them inevitably. And the image he created behind the metaphor was intense.

Nouns also make good substitutes for adjectives. How would you describe our kind being harmful to nature and the environment?

"selfish beings burning nature's heart... blah blah"

But if you think hard enough for a noun that could describe your thought, it wouldn't be so hard.

"Plastic species roam the land,
to rot and spread the virus."

Plastic (noun) is a material that is harmful to the environment and used without abandon by humans. It also rots and may cause cancer once burnt.

There are a lot of ways you can spice up your writing with the lesser use of adjectives and a creative use of its substitutes.

"I remember how your eyes harassed me"
- any reader can fill up the emotion in this line. But if you deliver it differently, it can be more specific:

"I remember your eyes: fifty attack dogs on a single leash"
- feel the tension?

The test here is that if we want to broaden the intensity and affectivity of our writings, we must set aside the use of words to describe a feeling, set aside the use of verbs to announce an action, and just let our metaphors, similes, etc... saturate our work with imagination and stimulation.

It's a good exercise. Try it. :)

by The Tasteless

1 comment:

  1. i find myself posting quite a few of your blogs to my reader to share with others. good strong tips :)