Eva @ lilicasplace, Crystal Collier, Sheena-Kay Graham, Chemist Ken, LG Keltner, and Heather Gardner.
This month's question is What writing rule do you wish you'd never heard?
As soon as I read this question, I knew my response definitely had to be about adverbs. While this rule has the good intention of pressuring writers to choose strong verbs, it does so at the cost of persuading them that an entire class of words should be stricken from their vocabularies. Sometimes using an adverb can subtly shade meanings in a way that would be difficult, if not impossible, to do with a single word. For example, "She smiled forlornly." Grinning, grimacing, beaming, and smirking don't convey the mixed feelings of this character.
Adverbs can also be part of a writing style for a particular story. A melodramatic character would use more of them than an emotionally stable character. Similarly, adverbs feel more at home in my fantasy Season Avatars series set in a Victorianesque world than they do in my science fiction, where my POV characters tend to have scientific backgrounds. (Disclaimer: I'm sure there are adverbs in my Catalyst Chronicles series; they're there for the reason I cite above.)
A third reason for disregarding the rule to avoid adverbs is to improve your writing flow. Often as I'm drafting a story, the sentence that first pops into my head comes with an adverb. If I tell myself to rewrite that sentence every time that happens, it would interfere with my ability to make progress on the story. I find it easier to type the adverb and keep going. The best time to decide if a particular adverb is worth keeping is during the revising/editing stages. I remove a significant fraction of the adverbs in my stories when I revise, but I don't eliminate them completely. Sometimes I even add them. For example, I changed "I don't remove all of them" to "I don't eliminate them completely" to remove a word and make the line punchier. Being flexible with my use of adverbs allows me to adjust word counts to the optimum length for each story.
Are you a fan or foe of adverbs? Are there other writing rules you disagree with? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.