Updated: Mar 28, 2019
When I write a piece of creative writing I add lots of unneeded words in the first draft that when it's time to edit the work need to be trimmed down. The main culprits that slip in are adverbs and 'that'.
In this I'm not alone.
Look at your own work and see if you can point any out. A hint, most of those that need pruning end in 'ly'.
Adverbs fatten your writing, but rarely add any substance. As a general rule they weaken the writing, slow down the pace, and like a weed in a flowerbed need uprooting. Occasionally one will fit in just right, but most often than not, they need to go.
If you read a sentence that contains an adverb, read it through without.
The seat belt made him feel uncomfortably confined. He veered sharply around the corner, but he didn't even come relatively close to the curb.
The adverbs' here are uncomfortably, sharply, and relatively.
The seat belt made him feel confined. He veered around the corner, but he didn't even come close to the curb.
Veered already implies sharply, so it adds nothing. The same with the other adverbs.
Less is sometimes more.
There is also times when you need to use your brain or get out a thesaurus to get rid of them pesky adverbs and not just erase them.
She ran quickly down the lane, and walked slowly to her front door.
You can find a better word that will make the adverb redundant. To get rid of the adverbs 'quickly' and 'slowly', you can swap out 'ran quickly' and 'walked slowly' with stronger words.
She jogged down the lane, and crept to her front door.
She sprinted down the lane, and tip-toed to her front door.
We can't always do without adverbs, but we can use them sparingly. This will also make their use have more weight.