Long car trips always seem to go faster with murder. So last month when my husband, Dan, and I drove from the great Northwest to San Diego and back again, we checked out a couple of Agatha Christie murders to speed us on our way.
In case you haven’t noticed, murder has changed over the years. Evidently, so has the use of adverbs. Still, Agatha must have known what she was doing, considering her long and illustrious career. So I decided, doubtfully, that perhaps I would do well to follow her example.
So I perplexedly did my best to write using a plethora of the adverbs I copied from her story. I must say, I did struggle uncomprehendingly to take in all the ways “he said” can be modified.
“Help me, Dan,” I begged hastily. “This is too mortifyingly difficult.”
“Would you rather me record adverbs, or do you want me to pay attention to my driving?” he said inquiringly.
I wanted him to drive. So, hesitatingly, I took on the task alone. I listened and recorded, listened and recorded. Every now and then I giggled funnily. That giggle proved to be to suggestively distracting to Dan. “Do you have to do that now?” he said irritably.
“Well. . . I guess I could possibly. . . maybe. . .” I said stammeringly. That’s when I noticed the silver sliver of moon, newly risen above the snowy peak of Mount Shasta. “Oh, Dan, what a gorgeous view!” I said irrelevantly. And I decisively put my pen away, which is why I have no more stolen adverbs to offer. . . I say frustratedly.
Hmmm… I think I will go back to choosing strong verbs and let them speak for themselves. And I say that decisively!
“Your criticism is bound to be that you yourself would have written it in such and such a way, but that does not mean that it would be right for another author. We all have our own ways of expressing ourselves.”