One of the biggest problems with amateur writing is the use of run of the mill verbiage. I have seen it time and again when students write fiction or fiction writers pay me to edit their work. How much better could a piece of prose be if we were to be more creative with something as simple as verb use?
Dave entered the room and then sat on the couch.
It could be written this way, but the thing to do when trying to find a better verb is to think about how one could use the verb to express action in a way that is specific. Was Dave expressing any emotion when he entered the room? How did he feel when he sat on the couch? How would this be expressed in his body language. Body language is how most of us gauge the true scope of how people are feeling, and is about 60% of the way we communicate. If we change the sentence, we get:
Dave lumbered into the room and then collapsed on the couch.
Depending on the scene, it can be inferred from this sentence that maybe Dave has had a rough day and he is tired. At least we have something to go on rather than a simple description of what Dave did.
And now, a handy pdf file with many active verbs for you to use: click here.
Roger Colby is an English teacher by trade, making the lives of teens in his class difficult and yet rewarding even if they cannot see the use for the important skills he is teaching them (for the most part). He is a father of four rambunctious children and is husband to a wonderful, understanding wife who gives him space to write about weird places and even weirder happenstances. He has many dogs, cats, chickens, birds, a turtle, a gecko and a hamster. It is a noisy house.
You can help him fund the Indiegogo campaign for the print edition of his successful e-book This Broken Earth here.
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One thought on “Active Verbs: Words to Spice Up Any Prose”
Bland verbs join adverb abuse and passive construction to form the unholy trio of boring fiction.