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Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 13 Strong Verbs

Use Strong Verbs to Drive Your Sentences

by Tamara

"The verb is the engine that drives the sentence." 1

I don't have to be a grease monkey to know that engine means power. Power to move, power to transport. If that is what we want to do with our writing, our stories--transport our readers--then we need to pay attention to the engine. Once I think of verbs as my engine, I look at my writing in a different light. And what a difference a strong verb can make.

For example:

"The tracks made  a line in the snow." or "The tracks cut a line in the snow." 2

Which one lacks horsepower? Which one has more thrust? 'Cut a line in the snow' provides that visual punch, doesn't it?

Wilbers suggests a simple way to check your writing style: "Take a paragraph of your writing at random, and underline your verbs." Then ask, "Are they doing their job? Are they adding color and power to my writing?"3

1. Mastering the Craft, p. 70
2. Mastering the Craft, p. 70
3. Mastering the Craft, p. 72

PEGGY: Here is a paragraph from my WIP:

Rogan’s stomach sank. He’d made too many mistakes lately, but surely they wouldn’t send him beyond. The longer Abe paused the higher Rogan’s anxiety went.

Here is how I changed it this morning:

Rogan's stomach clenched. He'd made a colossal mistake, but surely they wouldn't send him beyond. Abe paused. Rogan's chest refused to expand and his anxiety skyrocketed.

Which do you like better? 

VALERIE: I love a strong verb. It really does make all the difference.