Back to the Boobs

I went in for my second annual mammogram today. I has to go over to Vanderbilt because my insurance is a dumpster fire. This is nothing against Vanderbilt. I really liked how things went today.

But, seeing as how this was the year follow-up after my surgery, I would have preferred to go to the place that did my surgery and thus would have my films and charts and such.

Instead, only half the shit Vanderbilt needed ended up over there, even though I checked at my appointment and called to make sure everything had been sent.

So, instead of finding out today that everything looks good, I have a kind of half-knowledge. The doctor said he didn’t see anything in there he’d be worried about if this were my first mammogram. However, knowing that this is my second, he really wished he had the first one to compare to.

When he gets those, he’ll be able to give me a better all-clear.

Here’s the thing, though. I’d like to think, based on my mom and grandma, that I’m not quite halfway through my life. But I’m close.

I don’t want to be on my death bed wishing I’d really tried to get a novel published.

Adverbial Compression

One of my podcasts is Writing Excuses, which I like and find really thought-provoking, but, in general, haven’t found to be writing changing for me. It’s nice to think about the craft of writing for a few minutes with people who have thought a lot about the craft of writing, though, so I look forward to it.

Until this week’s episode, which has blown my mind. They’ve been talking about revision for a couple of weeks–so you can see why I’ve been paying close attention.

And this week, they were talking about adverbs. Adverbs have a bad reputation among writers and yet, when you’re writing, my god, if she says, “I love you” softly, is it really so bad that she says it softly?

But this week, one of the Writing Excuses people introduced this idea of “adverbial compression.” He looks for adverbs in his work and finds that they are often places where he’d be better off writing more.

So, take my example above.

I might write “‘I love you,’ she said, softly.”

But dude is arguing that your writing is stronger if you cut the softly and add some shit that lets the reader know she’s saying it softly. You can see how that works thusly:

“She pressed her face into the pillow, so that he could not hear what she was saying, if he was even awake, and she said, ‘I love you.'”


“She grabbed him by the chest hair, pulled his ear close to her lips, and said, ‘I love you.'”

My mind is blown. Not just because it’s a great way to add more descriptive interactions between your characters, but because, wow, yes, here’s a good explanation for why you might not want to use adverbs and what you might do in those spots instead.