1. carsun1000

    carsun1000 Active Member

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    A novel without a verb???

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' 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

    skeloboy_97 New Member

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

    Show Contributor 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

    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

    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

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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

    Steerpike Felis amatus 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

    Tesoro Contributor 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

    Steerpike Felis amatus 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

    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

    The-Joker Contributor 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

    animefans12 New 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

    Tesoro Contributor 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

    Tesoro Contributor 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

    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

    Steerpike Felis amatus 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

    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

    therealdjcamm New Member

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

    Tesoro Contributor 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

    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

    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

    TobiasJames New Member

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

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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

    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

    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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