1. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Verbs

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Hwaigon, Dec 29, 2014.

    I remember a section in a fantasy magazine where writers gave advice. One of those pieces of advice was:

    Verbs make for action, action makes for interest, interest makes for curiosity, curiosity for futher reading.

    Do you agree?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    To an extent, yes, I agree. A lot of stories I critique are bogged down with exposition (info-dump) at the beginning of a story. The only verbs in sight are copula verbs, which are not the kind of verbs mentioned in your quote, and it's like being handed ingredients, one by one, that I am expected to carry in just my hands - no basket, no counter, no cart - just my hands, and I don't even know what these ingredients are going to be used for because I have yet to be told what's for dinner tonight! Nope, here, just keep piling these ingredients into your arms. You can manage. Don't drop any.
     
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  3. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Apt metaphor. I bear that in mind when writing my current story.
    If you agree to an extent, what is the other portion of it you have a different idea about?
     
  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    As long as you pick the right verb. I've seem a lot of newbies undo their writing with a lot of to be verbs - was, am, stationary verbs and a lot of them to set up a scene. Like a camera panning over a stagnant image. Or if they do pick the odd action verb it may not befit their context.
    It's like the simple sentence of -
    He moved. Moved is not concrete - it creates doubt in the readers mind. How did he move? The readers ask. But with context - he moved can be absolutely perfect. As it creates the necessary subtly the context could need. A lot of newbies grab these generic umbrella verbs but they don't have the context to clear up the image.

    He ran. Is a concrete action verb easy for the reader to imagine. Perfect when you want to direct your reader and give them a clear image.

    He ambled. Is concrete as well - but I separate it from ran because it's one of those words that appear in thesaurus' and if the connotation isn't used properly it can trip up a sentence. The writer would be better off using something as dry as moved rather than ambled without the context.

    Also newbies tend to bury verbs. I.e. - She, the little girl who lived down the lane, was walking towards the small, ramshackle store with quarters in her pocket to buy a popsicle. 'was walking' isn't necessarily. I always find was walking sounds as if it's about to be interrupted by another action - as in... she was walking when a car struck her. Walked would be better. It's not that these sentences are wrong it's that often they're not changed up. - Jill walked to the store, jingling the change in her pocket. Just enough for a popsicle. ( and the ramshackle store can be described later. Over jamming a sentence doesn't let the verbs shine. )
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The other side of me caveats that any rule taken to either extreme is bad. Moderation in all things.
     
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  6. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    "Moderation in all things."

    Sagacious words.
     

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