Stephen Graham Jones: As I Like It

Stephen Graham Jones has a terrific essay for us word nerds over here at The Cult. He’s particularly aggravated about usage of the word “as” and other filler adverbs, and he does a great job backing up his assertions with solid, specific examples. Here’s my favorite chunk:

The real test for As, however, it’s not this, what I’m writing, it’s where you find it: in the prose of either beginning or just plain bad writers. Do you see it in Walker Percy? Charles McCarry? Jonathan Franzen? Rushdie? Writers who care about their prose, I mean, after a while, a while we never much see, they kind of just instinctually duck that bad kind of As — check Hemingway, opting for ‘and as,’ or just try to find a clunky As in Nabokov. And, I mean, Percy, say. If you want a study of how to avoid those other prose crutches — though, but, however, yet, and even, too, just — read him line by line, then search those words in your own story files, then maybe ask yourself why you know his name, and nobody knows yours.

And speaking of knowing names, ya’ll better get used to seeing his moniker (that is, of course, if you’re not already) because Jones has about 347 books coming out this year. (Full disclosure: one of those books is a novel called The Long Trial of Nolan Dugatti, which I’ve had the pleasure of working with him on in my editing duties over at Chiasmus; so I’m completely biased because I am pretty much in lust with that book—sue me. Stay tuned for more on it very soon…)


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