Not signed in (Sign In)


Vanilla 1.1.8 is a product of Lussumo. More Information: Documentation, Community Support.

Welcome Guest!
Want to take part in these discussions? If you have an account, sign in now.
If you don't have an account, apply for one now.
    • CommentAuthorSakampa
    • CommentTimeApr 9th 2010 edited
    As I understand it, adjectives are poison to ones writing.
    Sure you can use some, but keep them to a minimum.
    I was also adviced to tell the story from an objective perspective. So that means: don't blend your own opinion in it through strategic use of adjectives, but describe a situation like they would do on the news, and let the reader judge if the look of a person gives him the chills or not. (for example) Don't force your own opinion on to the reader.

    Having said this, there is a trick you can use. You CAN use adjectives if you tell it from a characters perspective: James found the look of the room foreboding.
    Now I'm implying this is a nasty room, but this is just James PoV, so none can flame me.

    Well here come my 2 questions:
    *1: Is the text stated above somewhat right? Please give your opinion about my conceptions of storytelling.

    *2: Take this sentence as an example:

    "He saw the building still pierce the sky as if it were unsusceptible to the turmoil below."

    Now I want this "as if it were unsusceptible" part to be told as an opinion of the "He" perspective. Now of course I can do it something like this.

    "He saw the building still pierce the sky. He thought it looked like as if it were unsusceptible to the turmoil below."

    But that's ugly in my opinion, how can I do this? Or is the current sentence already expressing an opinon, "that he saw it that way"?

    I hope you all can follow what I mean, it's kinda hard to explain.

    He saw the building still pierce the sky…

    I thought the first sentence was fine. I think you’re taking the whole ‘Don’t press your opinion on the reader’ thing a little too far. If you emphasize that ‘he thinks’ everything, then your writing will be ugly, like you noted. Most people will probably assume that he’s thinking the more subjective things anyway.

    As for adjectives are BAD, I’m ambivalent about this. Sure, you don’t want to load down your writing with a bunch of purply words that require a dictionary to understand, or be repetitive about it, but I think adjective use, as long as it is even moderate is okay. I don’t think everyone has to write like Hemingway.

    If you’re writing a first draft, just go along with whatever comes out, then worry about fixing it later. I hope that answered your question.


    Hemingway used adjectives. He just didn’t sacrifice substance for style.

    My thought process on it goes something like this: Does relatively obscure adjective X do a more effective job of describing the modified noun more clearly than common adjective Y? If yes, use X. If no, use Y.


    I thought that adverbs were bad, and adjectives were usually fine? Hmm…

    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2010

    Adjectives are fine when used properly and in moderation. If you’ve got lots of sentences that read “Her long purple curly hair flowed down her back in an elegant but wild cascade of sheen to touch the cold white marble tiles of the long quiet dark hall”, then you really need to cut down on the adjectives. Using two or more adjectives to describe a single noun is called stacking, and adjective stacking is almost never good. I say almost because, in some very rare cases, it is part of a writer’s style, and they know how to use stacking effectively.

    The thing about adjectives in general is that the most commonly used ones (especially color-wise) are so vague. Referring back to the example of the girl with purple hair, do you know how long her hair is? Exactly what shade of purple is it? How does it curl? How can something be both elegant and wild? How cold are the tiles? What shade of white are they? What type of marble are the tiles? Etc. Because the adjectives are so non-specific, there’s an illusion of detail, but the reader is ultimately left without a clear image of what was described. One well-used and specific adjective far outweighs a whole stack of bland adjectives any day.

    As far as objective writing is concerned, I agree with it in principle, but I also agree that you’re taking it too far. In the example you provided, it’s obvious that it’s the character that’s thinking it and not the author imposing her viewpoint on the reader. Now, if you were to deliberately and obviously characterize a character as evil in the narration (suspiciously darting eyes, slimy hair, weasel-like appearance, etc.), then that would not be objective writing.


    Whether or not you need to put the “he thought” qualifiers on things is a pure stylistic choice that depends on the distance of the rest of the piece’s narration. The kind I’m trying to use right now is really close to the characters to the point that there’s next to no italicized thoughts and such, and everything that would be is just integrated into the narration. If you are going for a more detached viewpoint, then yes, point out that it’s something he’s thinking.

    • CommentAuthorSakampa
    • CommentTimeApr 11th 2010
    Your input made alot of things clearer. So thanks for that and yes it helped Snow White Queen.

    To Kyllorac, you spoke about colors being so vague as a adjective. But how else would you suggest describing it?
    I get your point about the non-specific adjectives, there's indeed an illusion of detail.
    Thanks for you comment

    And Sansafro187, yes that's interesting. I think I'm going for a medium distance, not too detached but also not too close.
    I'm curious how yours works out for the reader, because it would probably be a more involved experience.
    • CommentTimeApr 15th 2010

    To Kyllorac, you spoke about colors being so vague as a adjective. But how else would you suggest describing it?

    What shade of the color is it? We’ll use blue for example. Is it a blue ribbon blue? Cloudless sky blue? Blue the color of turquoise, lapis lazuli, cobalt, spiniel, zircon, or aquamarine? Each of these specific types of blue are easy to visualize, and they are all very different shades of blue, but a lot of writers simply use “blue” or toss around a more “colorful” variant (like sapphire) as a synonym. Blue, and many other common color names, is such a non-specific adjective.


    Well, using a word like ‘spiniel’ would be very specific, but no one would know what you meant.