I have a friend who loathes adverbs. She denies them admittance into her prose. And here's the rub, for you fellow adverb lovers, she's a damn fine writer. Ursula Le Guin explains the wisdom of my friend's adverb aversion beautifully:
"I would recommend to all storytellers a watchful attitude and a thoughtful, careful choice of adjectives and adverbs, because the bakery shop of English is rich beyond belief, and narrative prose, particularly if it's going a long distance, needs more muscle than fat."
With that in mind, we offer a writing exercise from Ms. Le Guin's Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew:
Write a paragraph to a page (200-350 words) of descriptive narrative prose without adjectives or adverbs. No dialogue. The point is to give a vivid description of a scene or an action, using only verbs, nouns, pronouns, and articles. Adverbs of time (then, next, later, etc.) may be necessary, but be sparing. Be chaste....The first time you do the exercise, write something new. After that you might want to try "chastening" a passage you've already written. It can be interesting.