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Why Suddenly is a Four-Letter Word

Why Suddenly is a Four-Letter Word

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Published by K.M. Weiland
What’s one of the most overused, least-needed words in a writer’s repertoire? Try “suddenly.”
What’s one of the most overused, least-needed words in a writer’s repertoire? Try “suddenly.”

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Published by: K.M. Weiland on Apr 07, 2013
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04/07/2013

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What’s one of the most overused, least-needed words in a writer’s repertoire?Try “suddenly.” At first glance, “suddenly” seems pretty innocuous. After all, it’s just a littleadverb. It’s so commonplace, it’s almost invisible. And it’s important. Unlike somany useless modifiers, it tells readers exactly
how 
some important action ishappening. It provides a handy bridge between two actions, the latter of whichis completely unexpected.
What’s the matter with “suddenly”?
Here’s the thing about “suddenly”: it’s almost always unneeded. More than that,it has this ironic tendency to mitigate the very effect it’s trying to create. If something happens
suddenly 
, its very suddenness is proven by its abruptoccurrence. Consider, for example:The moon rose above the hill, pale and serene. I sat on the roadsideand watched it shed its light across the hay fields. From within thetrees, the smoke from my brothers’ campfire wafted, blue-gray, to join the last cirrus clouds of the day. I settled onto a fallen log.Suddenly, from within the trees, a branch cracked. I sat up straightand gooseflesh pimpled my skin. 
Why is your writing stronger without “suddenly”?
This doesn’t look so bad on the surface. But what is “suddenly” adding to thisscene? That branch certainly didn’t crack un-suddenly. It happens withoutwarning. The character has been caught off guard. So why is the author warningthe readers? Why not let readers experience the abruptness of the crackingbranch right alongside the character?The moon rose above the hill, pale and serene. I sat on the roadsideand watched it shed its light across the hay fields. From within thetrees, the smoke from my brothers’ campfire wafted, blue-gray, to join the last cirrus clouds of the day. I settled onto a fallen log.
Why “Suddenly” Is a Four-Letter Word
http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.comhttp://www/kmweiland.com

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