Strong Verbs

Your verbs are very important to the story. They portray action, emotion, drive your book along. That’s why all verbs must be strong.

Unfortunately, there is a current trend to modify verbs, weaken their delivery by using “begin” and “end” or other words that in effect, dilute the verb and slow down your book.

It’s time to take your verbs into the writing gym and make them strong. Your zeal to create a well-crafted story must be tempered once you start a sentence with “the wind started to blow,” and never end that statement. Instead, the wind should gust and blow with a temper that is sure to scare everyone in a ten mile radius.

How does one send their verbs to the gym?

The idea is to review and edit your book as you go along and before you submit. If you’ve used a modifier with your verb, either another verb or an adverb, take it out. Slice and dice is the order of the day when giving your verbs a workout. Yes, things begin to happen, but in a book with strong verbs, they happen. People don’t start to pick up an object; they lift that object. Animals don’t begin to attack; they attack.

Be brutal. Eye those words like you would another author’s book, when you’re helping them find errors. Think heavy duty pen scratching out words that aren’t necessary. Believe that you are making your character’s actions stand up and count.

Put your verbs in a power lifting position and leave them there. Watch their muscles grow. Give them the opportunity to carry the story well.

Once you’ve done this, bring those verbs home from the gym and leave them, strong and proud, where they belong—in a story that rocks.


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