Monthly Archives: January 2013

Fire Up Your Verbs (Sally Love)

THE DOG WALKED DOWN THE STREET.

Bo-o-o-oring. Was it trotting, limping, ambling, pausing to bark at other dogs?

THE MAN LOOKED AT THE WOMAN.

“Looked” is so bland it might keep the reader from finishing the page. Be specific: leered, glared, smirked, grinned

SNIFFING THE AIR, THE DOG WALKED DOWN THE STREET. (GERUNDS)

Avoid using any gerunds at the start of a sentence. The structure is awkward and may stop the reader’s concentration to unravel the sentence meaning.

THE WOMAN FELT THE RAINDROPS. Physical

THE WOMAN FELT SAD. Emotional

An opportunity missed to show rather than tell.

THE MAN MOVED HIS FOOT.

Did he pick it up with both hands?

Search out a thesaurus that includes more than basics. Most computer thesauruses are lacking. The paperback-sized book you carried around in a back pocket or purse won’t take you far either. Check out the ones in bookstores and compare choices for “look, walk and move.” You’ll see the difference immediately.
Exercise: Highlight every verb on five pages of your manuscript. Find a more suitable, visual verb replacement, one that fires up the readers’ senses – sight, sound, touch, scent, taste.

The bedraggled mutt limped down the potholed street, stopping to lick his injured paw and peeking through his muddy fur for any sign of his owner.

Native Texan Sally Love grew up in Austin and spent more than twenty-five years as a financial writer and public relations/media relations specialist for financial and high-tech companies. She holds bachelor degrees in English and Journalism from The University of Texas and an MBA in Marketing from the University of Houston. She and retired optometrist husband, Lou, live in Houston. Her short stories have appeared in The Final Twist anthologies “A Box of Texas Chocolates”, “Twisted Tales of Texas Landmarks”, “Underground Texas” and “Deadly Diversions”. Look for more of her stories in L&L Dreamspell anthologies, “Mysteries, Dreams and Darkness”, “Mystery of the Green Mist”, and “Dreamspell Revenge II.”

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