Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Secrets to Specific Nouns and Vivid Verbs

Week of September 25—Magical Writing Wizards
Wednesday, September 28—Secrets to Specific Nouns and Vivid Verbs

If you’ve followed my blog, you know that I'm a nut for making nouns specific and verbs vivid. I am not one to flower up my writing with adjectives and adverbs, but rather I like to choose the strongest nouns and verbs to tell my stories. In her book, Revision Toolbox, Georgia Heard writes:

If verbs are the engines of sentences, then nouns are the wheels on which that engine rides. Nouns need to be sturdy, solid and specific.

And may I add that verbs need to be precise, active, and draw pictures in readers minds?

During The Magical Writing Scribes camp we’ll be working on making our nouns and verbs strong and specific. And since we’re using Harry Potter and the other sorcerers at Hogwarts as our inspiration, I’ve written some special spells we’ll cast over our papers. Oh, come on, it’s just for fun!

Vivid Verbs
Lifeless verbs on the page,
listen to this haggard sage.

Verbs so dreary, nearly dead,
now draw pictures in each head.

Instantly spring forth vivid.
Do it now—or I’ll be livid.

Specific Nouns
Nouns! Nouns! Nouns!

People, places, things—I wail.
Now’s the time, your names, do tell.

Oh, poor noun. Don’t live in shame.

Be specific.
Say your name.
© Rob Sanders, 2011
It’s Your Turn!
1. Read back over your most recent manuscript. Cast a spell over your verbs and conjure up some specific nouns. It’s magical!

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