One of the first advice you will get from a critique group is to get rid of the adverbs along with adjectives, filter words, the passive voice, dialog tags, "to be" verbs, present participles, exclamations, telling versus showing. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few along the way.
The question is should you get rid of all the adverbs?
OF COURSE NOT!
You have to use common sense.
If in his book "On Writing", Stephen King claims that "the road to hell is paved with adverbs" that does not prevent him from using them sparingly. In Harry Potter’s book J.K. Rowling uses a lot of adverbs in dialogue attribution and she does this even in his first installation of the series. That does not prevent Stephen King to admire her efforts and find her flaw "endearing rather than annoying." He goes as far as saying that Harry "speaks quietly, automatically, nervously, slowly, and often -- given his current case of raving adolescence -- ANGRILY." King found this flaw
Everything lies in moderation. Yes, you can use adverbs, but it doesn't have to become a lazy habit where you use an adverb as a shortcut.
Too many adverbs could signal several problems:
1. Telling and not showing (“We quickly ran down the path to the car” instead of “We stumbled to the car” or “’I have won!’ He said excitedly” instead of “He put his arms around me and smooched my words. “I have won!”)
2. A POV problem (“He sauntered lazily” indicates the narrator’s judgement in third person omniscient, but not in third person limited)
3. Distance the reader (“He tiptoed to the safe carefully,” The adverb prevents the reader from imagining the way he does that. The adverb takes the reader by the hand and tells the reader what to think.)
4. Redundancy (go down, very poorly, blast loudly, run quickly, yell angrily, creep quietly, etc.)
5. Poor vocabulary or careless writing
6. The image you are trying to convey is not clear in your head
7. Clichés (“Suddenly, all hell broke loose”)
8. Misuse (“She turned angrily.” Anger does not make you turn)
9. A weak verb Strong verbs evoke stronger images. Use them whenever you can.
She said quietly, “Wow! This woman was very big.”
Instead, say: “She whispered, “Wow! This woman was enormous.”
Do you walk slowly (adverb) across a place or do you prefer to amble (strong verb), stroll, roam, rove, wander or saunter across the place? As you can see, there are enough verbs to replace any adverb.
Plus of using adverbs:
O yeah, do you really need those pesky adverbs?
Yes you do actually, sometimes. A well-chosen adverb can clarify or strengthen an image.
Consider this sentence: "She had to hurry, but she had to hurry slowly, in order not to make a sound." (The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron)
Any word that modifies a verb is qualified as an adverb. Sometimes these modifiers are important for meaning.
An adverb is “a word belonging to one of the major form classes in any of numerous languages, typically serving as a modifier of a verb, an adjective, another adverb, a preposition, a phrase, a clause, or a sentence, expressing some relation of manner or quality, place, time, degree, number, cause, opposition, affirmation, or denial, and in English also serving to connect and to express comment on clause content.”
He pulled until the thread broke. He stumbled back. He swore he would never play with yo-yos again.
Compare a sentence without those adverbs:
He pulled, the thread broke. He stumbled. He swore he would play with yo-yos.
The rule of thumb:
1. Scratch the adverb when it does not change the meaning of the verb (“He was so very tired” can be “He was exhausted”)
2. Scratch it when you can use a stronger verb instead (“They looked briefly” can be “They glanced”)
3. Keep it if it makes an impact (“She was super hungry” can be “She was ravenous” unless it’s a young adult talking)
4. Use adverbs in dialogues because we use them all the time when we speak.
To conclude, there is no checklist showing you what you are allowed to do in writing and what you are not allowed to do. As a beginner, it is good to have a reference on what to avoid, but that does not make it a to do list.