1. carsun1000
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    carsun1000 Active Member

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    A novel without a verb???

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by carsun1000, Aug 19, 2011.

    I was drinking a Snapple today and took a look at the fact inside the lid. And lo and behold, a french author named Michel Thaler wrote a novel (Le Train de Nulle Part) without a verb. So I decided to google the author or the idea of writing without a verb only to find out that it is actually possible. But I must say that it is not for "rudypoos' like me. I love my verbs and I can't do without them. Can you do without verbs in your work?
     
  2. skeloboy_97
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    skeloboy_97 Senior Member

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    Absolutely not! What is a novel of thoughts ?
     
  3. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    It may be theoretically possible but I can't say I'd want to read such a novel.
     
  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Can't imagine what the point would be to such an exercise.
     
  5. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Sounds like one of those "You could, but why would you?" things.
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I Googled the subject; it's interesting that in the author's rant against verbs... he uses verbs.
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    You could do it and still have action in the novel, but you'd have to be careful how you worded things. Don't really see the point to it, either.
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I cannot imagine how that is even possible, I think I need to see proof of it to understand it.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Well, suppose you have a sword fight. You might normally write:

    Izo was there waiting. The sword came quick, slashing a painful cut across Eric's side. Everything went blurry, and then Erik was looking up at the sky, laying flat on the hard ground.

    Without verbs:

    Izo was there. The sword cut was quick, painful, a searing pain in Eric's side. A blur, then only sky and the hard ground against Erik's back.

    (I hope that's right. "Cut" is used a noun, "searing" modifies pain...)
     
  10. therealdjcamm
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    therealdjcamm New Member

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    i think that's a wonderful idea. too many stories are about things happening. things don't have to happen, they can just be.
     
  11. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    “Fool's luck! A vacant seat, almost, in that compartment. A provisional stop, why not? So, my new address in this train from nowhere: car 12, 3rd compartment, from the front. Once again, why not?”

    That's an excerpt taken from the wikipedia article on the novel. Yip, that's one paragraph and I'm already bored. Verbs are my favourite words, and I am of the firm belief that verbs are more important in creative writing than any other group of words. Verbs add motion to an image, and writing just wouldn't be any fun without them.
     
  12. animefans12
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    animefans12 Member

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    I guess it would be possible, but without verbs in a novel is... quite unique, I suppose? Though I wouldn't be interested to read such book anyway.
     
  13. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I see, and in a way I like it. it gives a totally different feeling about it. And to me it sounds like it is more "show" than the "traditional" example. it also sounds more poetic. As for myself I use quite a lot of verbs when writing, it's hard to imagine my story without them.
     
  14. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    yes, that example is a little boring imo too. I agree with you that verbs are important, and banning them would create too many problems and probably make writing a lot more difficult than it already is.
     
  15. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    But isn't "was" a verb?

    To be is also a verb.
     
  16. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, banzai. You're right. You can remove that easily enough. "A quick sword cut, searing pain in Eric's side..." &c.
     
  17. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Again, it is possible, but other than for its own sake (which, in my opinion) is a stupid reason) I don't understand why you would.

    And yes, that was a very boring paragraph.
     
  18. therealdjcamm
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    therealdjcamm New Member

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    This is true. I withdraw that opinion and submit another; it is an awful idea :)
     
  19. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it would be pretty exhausting in the long run, reading an entire novel written like this. one or two paragraphs is one thing, but I probably wouldn't get through a whole full-lenght novel...
     
  20. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    200 pages without a verb, difficult writing, boring reading, unvisible point. Why not? My opinion: why yes?
     
  21. Lightman
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    Lightman Active Member

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    From wikipedia: “Quelle aubaine ! Une place de libre, ou presque, dans ce compartiment. Une escale provisoire, pourquoi pas ! Donc, ma nouvelle adresse dans ce train de nulle part : voiture 12, 3ème compartiment dans le sens de la marche. Encore une fois, pourquoi pas ?”

    “Fool's luck! A vacant seat, almost, in that compartment. A provisional stop, why not? So, my new address in this train from nowhere: car 12, 3rd compartment, from the front. Once again, why not?”

    Actually seems kind of cool.
     
  22. TobiasJames
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    TobiasJames Contributing Member

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    Steerpike, the verbs you used in your short piece of writing there:- 'was'
     
  23. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, Banzai pointed that out and I offered a revision...
     
  24. carsun1000
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    carsun1000 Active Member

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    I just personally think this will be a very tedious writing. I mean you will have to be in love with your thesarus and dictionary for every sentence of every chapter. I will be quick to develop a writer's block. I mean real quick
     
  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Even if possible, it's a bad idea. Effective use of verbs is one of the distinguishing featuires of good writers from mediocre ones.
     

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