I've been a member for about 2 years, and I've learned a lot from everyone. But, I was surprised to learn some new things in a professional writing course I took at school. I assume most members already know this stuff, but since I didn't, I'm going to post them here. All things posted were provided by an experience teacher I recently had. The prof placed a huge emphasis on verbs. Verbs are important tools for any writer. There are perfect verbs for any sentence, and I think one should spend time before just throwing one onto the page. Also, when editing, consider each verb and whether or not it would be a good idea to change it to a more suitable one. Now, here is what surprised me. The verb to be is the weakest verb. She was, they were, etc. I never knew that to be was weak, as you can see I just used it. My prof gave us an assignment in which we had to circle every verb to be in our work and change it to something else. Again, maybe most of you guys knew this already, but I sure as heck did not. It's weird to open some of my favorite books and find to be littered all across the page! Is it really that bad? -ING: Adding -ING to verbs, I've been told by the prof, is frowned upon. I really couldn't believe it. He told me that the verb is no longer a verb when the -ING is added, and that it's weak. I had no idea, and I've been avoiding (I should change this to "I avoided" ) them ever since. But again, SO many published authors, if not all, use walking, running, laughing, stumbling, etc. Anyone have thoughts on the guideline I've been given? A cheap trick: dates and times grab readers' attention. Lots of books I've read start off by stating the date, time, day of the week of whatever, and apparently readers get hooked without even realizing. Personally, I think this is way overdone, so I try to work differently, but I thought I'd share that anyways. I don't think parallelism is discussed enough on these forums. I think that it is the most used technique in writing. Maybe I'm the only dumbo aspiring writing who didn't know this stuff. I hope this helps someone!!