Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tip Thursday - As IF!

Today's Blog Tour Stops:

I'll be visiting two lovely ladies today :)
Jemi Fraser
Kristal Shaff

Stop by and comment for more entries in the super Grand Prize Giveaway! Only a few more days of the blog tour before I do the drawing so don't delay :D

Now...for today's tip I've got something I'm not sure I agree with :D

"As" phrases....

As in - "Veronica burst into tears as she slammed the door."

Or - "She sobbed as if her heart were broken."

When I was just a baby writer, I was told that relying on "as" phrases was a sign of an amateur writer because these phrases can almost always be rewritten without the "as". Using these phrases was laziness on the part of the writer, a crutch. Being very fond of "as" phrases, that stung a little.

Now, I get the point. Sure...most of the time these can be rewritten. Like:

"Veronica burst into tears and slammed the door." And "She sobbed, her heart breaking a little more with every tear."

UPDATE: (for those who aren't fans of "and" :D here is another option that gets rid of the "as") "Veronica burst into tears, slamming the door behind her."

But is that necessarily a better, stronger sentence because of the absence of the word "as"? Maybe...maybe not.

Since it was something I did overuse once upon a time, I do try to rewrite those sentences whenever they crop up in my writing. I do agree that these phrases, like anything else, can be overused. If you have an "as-fest" going on, it's going to stand out in a negative way. But that is true of any word or phrase. And frankly, sometimes the "as" just sounds better.

So is using "as" a sign of an amateur or lazy writer? I don't think so. But...I'll still try to avoid them when I can :)

What do you think of "as" phrases? Have you ever been told what I was told about them?


Anonymous said...

You've made me really think about how often I use as. I agree with you that if you can rewrite something to be stronger, you should.

Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

You've made me really think about how often I use as. I agree with you that if you can rewrite something to be stronger, you should.

Thanks for the tip!

T C Mckee said...

No one has ever mentioned this to me before, but I can already think of quite a few places I could remove them. Thanks for the tip. I'm going link back to this on my "Found it Friday's" post. :)

Eric said...

See, and I would have argued in the opposite direction, since too many "and's" bothers me when I write. But I don't know if I'm an "as" abuser either LOL.

Matthew Rush said...

I totally disagree (not with you, with the rule). Sure "as" can often be replaced, and it is sometimes better to do so, but not always. In your example of crying and slamming the door I think "as" is better than "and", unless you mean that she started crying before slamming the door. If they were done together then "as" is better. As long as you use it on purpose, and for a good reason, and, like you say, not TOO often, it works for me.

Michelle McLean said...

I love getting other people's opinions on this :) It's something that always stands out to me now, thanks to that early reviewer of mine, so I'm always interested to see how other writers feel about poor Mr. "As"

Eldra said...

In the first novel I ever attempted to write, almost every sentence had an "as" in it, and it was most certainly distracting. Now I pay attention to when I use "as" and it doesn't pop up in my writing quite as often. I'm still working on it, though.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I saw you on Jemi's blog today. And Spunky's blog yesterday! And they say I'm all over over the web...

Katrina L. Lantz said...

Great tip! I do tend to overuse 'as' and have to watch out for that. But sometimes, yeah, I do think it sounds better that way.

Loved the Tip title, 'As IF!'

Arlee Bird said...

Dropping by from Jemi's blog.
I'm with you on this topic. Sure, if something's overused it can start sounding bad. I think if it sounds good and natural then use it. I like to write like I speak and how I hear others speak. Sometimes written phrasing can come across as awkward if the writer sticks to all the rules. I'll keep my as phrases, but in appropriate moderation.

Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

Misha said...

I was always told to do everything to avoid repetition of any sort.

So I use as, ", -ing verbs", while... anything to keep the rhythm going without causing a hideous repetition.

I have a thing about sentences that start with -ing verbs. Those were marked out of me when I was preparing for my A levels.