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Saturday, February 8, 2020
Writing Prompt Saturday ~ Oh, Those Powerful Verbs!
I've been swamped with editing lately (both my books as well as assigned edits) and have come to the realization that, maybe, we should have a post where we try experimenting with more exciting and powerful verbs. The reason for this discussion is that in using more powerful verbs, it can reduce the amount of those 'ly' adverbs that annoy many editors.
We all know from elementary school that verbs show what's going on with the subject (noun) in a sentence. Adverbs are, "...a word or phrase that modifies or qualifies an adjective, verb, or other adverb or a word group, expressing a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner, cause, degree, etc. (Oxford Dictionary). Most often, writers turn to the 'ly' adverbs mentioned above, which there's nothing wrong with. However, there is such a thing as overusing these adverbs. In fact, I've had fellow editors and publishers tell me that if a writer uses more than four per page, it's too much. So, what the heck are you supposed to do?
I always give the advice to just write everything out when you get your idea then go back and edit. If you edit as you go, it'll take forever to get the piece done. So when you get to that editing stage, see how you can replace some of those 'ly' adverbs with a different verb. Like I said, sometimes the 'ly' adverbs are the best way to describe what's going on but, hey. Trying to make your writing more solid and unforgettable is better.
Many years ago now, one of my writing mentors sent me a list she'd compiled listing 195 of the most powerful verbs. I won't paste the entire list here as it is my "Ancient Chynna Secret"; however, I thought I'd throw a shorter list that you can take with you to see how you can use them in your own writing. Writing is like cooking (which is why I have a whole segment day dedicating to all that's cooking). It isn't just one ingredient that makes the dish wonderful. It's a combination of fantastic ingredients that work together that help to create the finished product. Verbs, then, are one of our ingredients in writing.
See what you can do with these and let me know what you come up with. Hey! I've written entire stories simply based on a fantastic noun or punch-you-in-the-face verb. You can too.
26 POWERFUL VERBS (from A - Z)
Advance, balloon (and not in terms of the party variety), charge, decern, ensnare, facilitate, glisten, hamper, intertwine, jacketed, kowtow, mushroom (and not the vegetable variety), natter, officiate, palletize, refashion, saunter, tabulate, usurp, venerated, wobble, xenograph, yabber and zing.
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