Literary Liaisons

A blog about writing and all things story…

Literary Liaisons-Jennie Shortridge-action verbs

Welcome to Literary Liaisons, a writer’s blog.

In the early 1900’s Gertrude Stein created an atmosphere of opportunities for artistic and literary connection, intellectual stimulation, and fun. She called them ‘salons’.
Stein’s apartment in Paris France became a gathering place for artists and writers including Matisse, Picasso, and Apollinaire. Her literary friendships included writers as diverse as Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, and Ernest Hemingway.

Recently I hosted a gathering of writers in my home; I call these gatherings Literary Liaisons, writer’s salons.
Our first guest speaker was bestselling author Jennie Shortridge who has three published novels: Riding with the Queen, (NAL 2003), Eating Heaven (2005), and Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe (2008).
Jennie gave a brief talk entitled; Rules Are Made To Be Broken: The truth about the ten most common ‘rules’ for writers. We followed up with a casual evening of questions, answers, food, and wine. Jennie was a generous guest author who answered questions and discussed writing with the twenty or so writers who attended.
Although my address is not as romantic as Stein’s, (Seattle) and I am not a rebellious expatriate with an alternative lifestyle (married, suburbs), and none of my friends are famous, (infamous, maybe) I am dedicated to the Pacific Northwest writing community. Who knows, one of us may be the next Hemmingway, Matisse or Stephen King.

This blog, Literary Liaison’s will be an extension of my writer’s community.
My intention in this on-line salon is to journal about a writer’s life; the tools, experiences, educational opportunities, conferences, teachers and the craft essentials necessary to make our stories come to life on the page.
Some of my local mentors are, Jessica Morrell, Bill Johnson, and so many more. I will list additional teachers in every blog.

Today’s writing recommendation:

There is a plethora of sounds in the English language, and we are fortunate to have a surplus of verbs to challenge our staying power as storytellers. Used properly, action verbs muscle up a sentence and help its propulsion.
For example, “Foot by silent foot, the wolf (select a verb) closer to the unsuspecting sheep.” Creeped closer? Crept closer? Sneaked closer? Snuck closer? Was it a soft and fuzzy Disney wolf that slinked closer? Or slunk closer. Tiptoed, skulked, lurked, prowled?
Ok, those might not all work, but you get the picture. Or at least you should get it better with the right verbs. What does the wolf do then? He leaped upon his prey. Or wriggled his big furry arms in the air? You see how much work the right verbs can do when you give them a chance.
Remember to amp up your verb usage in those moments when you cannot possibly write ‘lovely’ or ‘whispered’ one more time. Go online and look up action verbs, print lists and keep them handy. In addition, you must definitely rush (scramble, scuttle, scurry, scamper or dash) out and buy The Synonym Finder by J.I Rodale.


This entry was posted on September 17, 2008 by in Uncategorized.


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