After I sold my first romance to Ellora’s Cave, I knew if I wanted to sell a second book, I needed to continue to hone my craft. The mere act of loving writing was not going to keep me in publishing contracts. I read how-to books, surfed the web reading craft articles by other authors, and attended workshops on a variety of writing related techniques from goal, motivation and conflict to creating three dimensional characters who leap off the page.
But one piece of advice stuck with me and served to enhance my writing in a way nothing else had.
I’d once heard an English professor at my alma mater, the University of North Alabama, say, “A love of verbs is the one thing all good writers have in common.”
Of all the craft and how-to workshops I’ve attended on writing, that one statement is what I keep in mind when I’m writing.
Vibrant verbs will breathe life into your story.
It’s such an easy concept and one that is often overlooked by aspiring authors. Here is how I taught it to my 10 year old:
Look at the following sentence - Billy was running across the field.
What if you tried replacing ‘ran’ with something else? Billy charged across the field. Billy fled across the field. Billy bounded. Billy dashed. Billy tore. Billy scampered. Each one of those verbs has meaning the reader can visualize.
During your rewrites, find all the times you used “was” and other “be” verbs and replace them with verbs that will not only make your writing lively and energetic but will draw your reader into your story. Overusing the verb “to be” (is, am, are, was, were, been, being) will drain your story of life and bore your reader to boot.
Strong verbs strengthen your writing. Strong verbs pull your reader in and allow them to feel the emotions you as the writer are trying to convey with words.
Strong verbs will make the difference between your first sale and the big stack of rejected books gathering dust in a drawer.
About the Author
DEBRA GLASS is the author of over fifteen books of historical and paranormal romance, non-fiction, and folklore. The recipient of the National Society of Arts and Letters Alabama Screenwriter Award, she went on to win the NSAL Empire State Award for excellence in screenwriting. She received nominations as favorite erotic romance author with two of her books earning nominations as best erotic historical romance of 2009 from The Romance Studio. Two of Debra’s historical romances are currently finalists in Romance Writers of America’s Passionate Ink contest for published authors.
Debra is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Professional Authors’ Network, and Passionate Ink. She is also a member of RWA's Heart of Dixie chapter. She lives in Alabama with her real life hero, a couple of smart-aleck ghosts, and a diabolical black cat.
For more information about Debra and her books, click HERE