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Powerful Words Make Powerful Prose
To make your writing more active and powerful, it should be tighter and less passive on hard copies. Use your pencil.
In this book, it shows you how active writing is more powerful and stronger than passive words
Three weekends ago, when I went to my first local half-day writer’s conference, "Powerful Verbs Make Powerful Writing" was one of the workshops I attended, first thing in the morning. I thought this workshop would help me and other writers here on Hub Pages with their writing in their editing sessions. This was what I’ve learned from that workshop with my notes and the worksheet that came with it. Some tips will have an example with it.
This was why we should choose our words wisely. A powerful prose tells a story with constant, purposeful momentum. We can make the action happen and shouldn’t describe it. And that would make our writing easy to read too. Our handiwork doesn’t call attention to itself, except at the right times. One smooth action should be followed by a long or shorten sentence.
Powerful verbs lead to fast paced action. It’s very active and not passive. It carries a descriptive meaning and moves the story along. Better verbs should paint a clearer, stronger picture in our heads.
We should make it specific to the scene or person. Emphasize the position with the right choice of words. Make it interesting and not distracting.
You can change your writing by hitting the delete key on your keyboard to rewrite the sentences or graphs
This book shows you how to improve your writing with 13 steps
The 13 Acts of Powerful Writing
These are the thirteen acts of powerful writing I’ve learned in that workshop that I’m going to share with you. Feel free to copy the notes and share with others. We’re all into this together as fellow writers and hubbers.
1. Activate the verb.
Let the subject perform the action by using active verbs. The subject is acted upon.
Examples: Active: We heard the screaming three blocks away.
Passive: The screaming was heard by us three blocks away.
2. Choose a verb with descriptive power.
Strong verbs carry connotations with them: not just an action but how it’s done. Replace adverbs and adjectives with stronger verbs.
Examples: Instead of: she walked (briskly, casual or aimlessly) one block north and turned left.
Try strode, sauntered or wandered one block north and turned left.
3. Make your verb specific to the scene or person.
Choose the most interesting verbs or one that creates drama most consistent with scene. Break it down into several actions.
4. Make your verb interesting but not distracting.
Interesting verbs further the action, meaning or mood of the scene.
Examples: Instead of: She washes the dishes thoroughly.
Try: She scrubs the coffeepot and drenches the soapy plates with hot water.
5. Keep your verbs audience appropriate.
Make it suitable for your target audience.
Example: Instead of Robby stabbed the doll, try Robby broke the doll.
6. Replace ad_s with stronger verbs.
Resist adjectives and adverbs (-ly words)--have built-in descriptors,
Use verbs that end in -ed. Keep it sparse and fresh.
7. Cut the number of adjectives/adverbs in half.
Spent your ad- dollars wisely.
Check how many you use in a paragraph or page. Cut them in half.
Nix tired, weak or redundant verbs. If you have more than a couple, find a new option.
8. Eliminate the adjectives/adverbs you repeat.
Eliminate those ad- words.
9. Show the action instead of using clichés.
Show action instead of expressing or putting it in a cliché.
Chop cliches—find new ways to say that wise adage.
Find a fresh away to describe a sunset, for example, with the perfect sound effect word.
Example: Instead of: She frightened me to death when she moved near the cliff-edge.
Try: When she stepped her the cliff-edge, I leaped to grab her arm.
10. Express a truism in a new way.
It can be shown through action in scene. How would you say opposites attract?
11. Vary sentence length and structure.
If the sentence is the average length, vary the structure.
Be aware of average length of sentences. Find out how many are average length?
Follow long, flowing sentences with staccato rhythm or short ones. Often shorter sentences packs a punch with shorter words.
12. Eliminate unneeded phrases.
Cut out chaff. Tighten all unneeded phrases.
13. Vary beginnings of sentences.
Switch the beginning of sentences, if it starts in a pronoun or prepositional phrases.
Check the construction of the sentences—scan page for your sentences beginnings. Change from noun/pronoun, an article like “the”, or prepositional phrases, connecting words or transitional phrases and words.
Powerful prose poll
Will you power up your writing to make revisions better with these tips?
In two weeks, I’ll post a hub on how to revise and edit on your computer from my second workshop I attended at the conference, In early to mid-May, I’ll do a hub on the core elements of fiction from my last workshop on how to write and finish a manuscript in 60 days or less. This fall, there’s going to be a local full day conference held at the same place in late September. If I’m able to go, depending on the cost, I’ll do a bunch of writing/editing hubs from there.