Order of the FIST

This image is a candidate for speedy deletion....

"Obey the Fist!"

Once upon a time, I knew a writer lady who, without even knowing it, gave me one of the greatest writing lessons I’ve ever had.

She told me Stephen King once said to eliminate adjectives from your prose.

Of course, I freaked.  I couldn’t imagine trying to say something like “a majestic old maple” without adjectives.  I hit a wall, despaired, tail-spun and crashed and burned.  I was a failure as a writer, because there was no way on God’s green earth I could ever write without adjectives.

A few days later, my good buddy Bryce told me King said to eliminate adverbs from your writing.  Specifically, those ending in “ly” – and especially those “ly” words used in speaker tags, which are fondly remembered from the Tom Swifty books, or “Swifties”.

Once I regained my senses, and decided I’d rather write like King than not write at all, I set about to do just what he said to do – eliminate all “ly” adverbs from my prose.  It was no simple task, at first.  I finally figured out the reason for doing it is weak verbs and nouns.  I set my jaw and started to work on gaining better grasps of using those everyday, every time tools, and I became a better writer – by leaps and bounds, if I do say so myself – for doing so.

To that writer lady: Thank you.  You got the information wrong, but minimizing adjectives as well as adverbs only makes us stronger writers, too.

At any rate, time moved forward, and I ended up in a discussion with my buddy Ben in one of his posts.  In my comment, I quoted my secondary hero (after Batman, of course), Invader Zim.  If you’ve never seen Zim, you’re doing yourself a horrible disservice and should drop whatever you’re doing now (after finishing my post, of course) and go watch it.  Zim took a standardized test in “Skool” [sic] which would tell the students what their future careers would be.  Zim, of course, assumed he’d be lord of humans, so when his name was called, he bellowed he’d rule us all with his iron fist.  When the announcement of a career in food service was issued instead, he proudly proclaimed he would prepare food with his iron fist, and work his way up to ruling us all with his fist.  Then he pointed to the kid at the desk next to him and said “YOU! – Obey the fist!”  And that’s the line I quoted.

Before long Ben and I were exchanging emails in which I signed off with “Obey the Fist”, and finally “OtF” for short.  It stuck, and Ben took it to the next level to indicate his joining my movement to cause the extinction of the “ly” adverb in fiction prose and he started a movement he called “The Order of the Fist”.  It’s charter members are me (ruling supreme adverb-hater and dictator for life), him (festering, bubbling anti-adverbite on the rise), and anyone else I can sour to adverbs in fiction (like my beloved, who now can’t read a book without spotting those glaring boils on the page).

So, I have taken it upon myself – though Ben took it so far as to design T-shirts, which were kick-ass – to anoint those of you in the Order of the Fist with the following image, which you can display upon your blog or any other place you’d like, with pride.  But ONLY the members of the order, whose founding principle is the destruction and complete annihilation of the “ly” adverb from their prose, may use it.

Without further ado, here is the banner:


Use it with pride, oh Fisters!  Use it with wisdom.

All original content copyright DarcKnyt, 2009
All rights reserved

8 thoughts on “Order of the FIST

  1. If everybody followed the no adjectives and adverbs rules, everything would be “The dog barked at the tree.” And that would be boring.

    Ah, but the challenge is, make “The dog barked at the tree” interesting, exciting, and readable. Not all adjectives and adverbs will go away, that’s a given; but limiting them by using better, more descriptive nouns and verbs makes for a stronger writer.

    As for fisting, did you see that video that’s making it’s way around the internet. Some local talkshow in Detroit had a guest who was discussing why the Obamas are a good couple. One of her reasons was that they fist. The host suggested that the love expert explain and demonstrate what fisting was otherwise people might get the wrong idea. Although your fist is different from the Obama fist and the “other” fist, I still think it can cause much confusion. So a picture of the fist might help when you do your “Obey the fist,” otherwise perverts like me will get the wrong idea and giggle for the rest of the day and mumble things like “Darc said ‘fist’ again, tee hee.”

    Oh, well — I got a pretty good giggle out of picturing the Obamas fisting each other too. So if you get a chuckle occasionally out of me, that’s only fair. 🙂

  2. You get a chuckle out of that. Have you seen President Obama’s hands. They’re huge. Politics aside, I just thought “Oooh, that poor woman.”

    Yeah, but I want them to have pain, so … meh.

  3. Oooh, rank badges! Give him more reason to play in Photoshop!

    “We don’ need no stinkin’ badges!” Actually, badges would be kind of fun. 🙂

    Hey, you stole my line! LOL! Well, I seem to have some free time on my hands ….

  4. No adjectives? The world is coming to an end. 🙂

    P.S. I like your new banner. Very cinematic!

    Well, I don’t think I could live without my adjectives completely, so I have to concede there a bit. But adverbs? Goners!

    And thanks for the compliment on the banner. I’m glad you like it. 🙂

  5. ORDER OF THE FIST huh!! I am reminded of the brad paisely song I’m Still a Guy!!…Please feel free to fill in your own joke here…Zman

    ‘Fraid you got me on that one, Zman — not familiar with the song at all. But I’ll trust your humor here. 🙂

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