The Satisfying But Frustrating Usage of Excessive Illustrative Adjectivity

Adjectives Bulletin Board

37, day twelve.

I love adjectives. I won’t lie. As a writer, I am told I should not love adjectives. Adjectives clutter up sentences. Clutter should be avoided. Clutter bores readers, and makes them run off and do other things like play video games. I do not need that kind of stress. I do not need to worry about competing with video games.

Why do I love adjectives? There are a number of reasons. I write the way I talk. When I talk, I fill the air with words and phrases and sentences and expressions. People say they love words, and I do not doubt them. But not everyone who says that loves them like I love them. People have affection for words. They love the feel of words on their tongue, or the obscurity and history of the words. They love the sound and sense of words for their poetry. I love them the way a trainer loves Pokemon. I have to have all of them for myself. This matters to me enough that I just compared myself to a character in Pokemon. That happened, and I will have to live with it forever. If that does not demonstrate my commitment, then I just can’t do it.

I also love adjectives because I am obsessed with precision. That happens when you are born with an ear for language and cannot stop thinking too much about everything. If you suffer from this affliction, maybe you understand. Some things annoy me, and others irritate me. Some things fill me with joy, and other things fill me with happiness. Shades of meaning turn up everywhere. They need to be categorized separately. Some people can use one or the other without a problem. I am not one of those people. Each word speaks with its own voice, and conveys its own meaning. It hurts me to use one word when I feel I should be using another.

That being said, I trust the advice of writers who tell me I should not overuse adjectives. My writing does contain clutter. I write the way I talk, but talk excessively. I do not give my listeners time to think. I can engage people verbally, but when I speak out loud I have inflection and body language and – dare I say it – charisma to assist me. One of the things that annoys me about writing as opposed to speaking is that writing brings none of that to the party. Writing barely even contains inflections save for the use of italics, which I use constantly. I probably use them more than I should. The equivalent of inflection and intonation in sentences in writing has to be baked into the structures of the sentences themselves. When I speak, I can spit out words as quickly as I want in order to convey urgency. My sentences can be packed with adjectives. When I write, I do not have that luxury. Sentences stuffed with words, especially adjectives and adverbs, tend to drag when read. I can sell the sentences that I speak out loud with my personality. When I write, those sentences are my personality.

So I am on a quest to cut my sentences down to size. This is a challenge for any writer. If I think it challenges me in a way that surpasses the challenge it provides for other writers, that is probably just my ego talking. I can live with that. It does not change anything. In order to meet a challenge, you have to challenge yourself. You have to set tasks for yourself, and then accomplish them. Everyone knows this. Knowing it is one thing, and doing it is another. The challenge with which I will begin is to write a blog post of at least five hundred words without using any adjectives.

I have to tell you, it was really difficult.

Damn. So close. Maybe next time!


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