Verbs should move readers rapidly forward on a roller-coaster ride of thrills, romance, drama, mystery, and suspense. Nobody wants to spend an hour waiting in line or turn through a hundred pages in a book before they get to the action. From the first sentence, you want readers to live the story.
- Choose Strong Verbs.
Einstein said, “Until something moves, nothing happens.” Verbs create movements that make the story happen. Writers typically choose the first suitable word that comes to mind, which is fine for the first draft. On editing, though, try to think of better verbs than looked, walked, and turned. Did Billy sit in his chair or plop? The strongest verb creates the most vivid picture and helps build a take-away-your-breath ride in your story.
- Keep the Action Going.
Drivers don’t enjoy stop-and-go five-o’clock traffic and readers don’t like time-outs for back story or pauses for narrative other what is crucial to move the story forward. Minimize use of the had verb, which interrupts the story to give information from the past. Make the subject of the sentence the doer, not the receiver, of the action and avoid many of the passive is and was verbs.
- Strolling down the aisle was a duo of young people barely clothed. A duo of barely clothed young people strolled down the aisle.
- I was given a yellow note from my teacher. My teacher gave me a yellow note.
- Attacks on his character were made by members of the church leadership. The church leadership attacked his character.
- She was in full agreement agreed with the plan.
- The city park was where we gathered on the Fourth of July. We gathered at the city park on the Fourth of July.