Well-handled adverbs don't suck.
But don't they almost always make the sentence longer, add a useless word or two?
I'm asking, IJ, because I've learned to listen to you, especially when at first I'm so certain I'm right. :-)
Adverbitise is an illness bestowed upon the newborn authors. Once the antibodies are developed to the appropriate level, the use of adverbs is rarely a problem.
As a public speaker, I learned to use adverbs as a stall technique. The mind races faster than the mouth can deliver. Adverbs flow easily, allowing time to organize and deliver the next thought or passage. In writing, they can be used effectively to draw out a thought or create a pause, adjusting the pace.
Long sentences followed by short sentences can create a rhythm in the prose which can be used to adjust the pace as well. Long-short, long-short, medium-short, medium-short, short-short...and the event occurs.
I don't expect IJ pays me much mind, but I'd be a fool not to listen to her. She's an established author with a big publisher, and last year she was right as rain when she told me to stop worrying about my marketing so much and concentrate on the WIP. At the time, I thought she was full of it, but I learned. Now I listen, especially when I feel adament.