While I was doing my undergrad, I got some of the best writing advice I’ll ever receive. I took several creative writing classes, and each professor gave feedback that has helped me grow. However, my fiction professor offered a bit of guidance that has stuck with me every time I’ve held a pen in my hand since. It’s actually quite simple: adjectives are overused and weaken the words around them; use stronger, more interesting verbs in place of excess adjectives to draw attention right to the action.
At first, I wasn’t sure how well that would work. I mean, I suppose my thought was that there just seems to be so many more adjectives to choose from than verbs. But when I put the advice to the test, I found that that wasn’t the case. There are so many interesting and unique verbs out there for our creative needs, no adjective necessary. I found that my writing flowed much better and that I gained a stronger sense of my own voice by using words that weren’t so common. It opened up my options so much more in a creative sphere.
This advice has played a huge role in my fiction writing, but it’s also helped immensely with my poetry! A type of writing so rich in figurative language really thrives with verb emphasis. This rule of thumb enhances writing across the board, so my recommendation would be to use adjectives sparingly and to select them carefully. Unravel your capabilities to utilize verbs! That’s where most of the action is, anyway 😉
That’s all for today’s Writer’s Oasis. Just a short post to get you thinking about something that has really helped me! Check back Wednesday for a blast from the past…
Much Love, Quinn
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