Saturday, January 16, 2021

Upping our Verb Game

Sure, you’ve combed your pages for typos and missing punctuation marks, but have you ever considered your action words? If you find yourself in the revision stages of your novel, why not take an extra look at your verbs.

We all know that first drafts just have to exist. They are perfect even though they’re messy because it’s exciting to see a story go from your head to the page. Never stop patting yourself on the back for writing those chaotic first drafts. Second drafts and onward are where we start honing in on the craft we’re trying to improve with each story we write and powerful verbs play a big role in that.

In your draft you might have a sentence that reads: She walked to the window.

You might have passed over it several times while working on bigger plot issues. But now that those are sorted what if you were to swap out the verb “walk” for something more descriptive. Now, if your character is walking quickly you could try: She raced to the window. The reader has a much better sense of the character’s mood now that we’ve added some urgency with our verb choice.

But if she was walking slowly we might try swapping out the word “walk” for something like: She padded to the window. The word gives us the sense that she’s not in a hurry, but also that she’s quite comfortable in her surroundings.

You might just be surprised at how much tension and description you can add to a story just by swapping out regular and overused verbs for something with a bit more flair.

Happy writing.


Diane Burton said...

Good advice, April. I see ordinary verbs in books I'm reading and instantly substitute a stronger verb. Do I do it in my own work? Hah. I need to get better at finding strong verbs.

Mary Morgan said...

Excellent tips, April! You should the red ink on my manuscript when I'm doing my weekly edits. :)

Maureen said...

Great tips! Thanks!