Literary Liaisons

A blog about writing and all things story…

Hard Working Verbs

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 into word pictures that create reader satisfaction.
For example, “Foot by silent foot, the wolf (select a verb) closer to the unsuspecting sheep.” Creeped closer? Crept hunting_wolf_w1closer? 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’walked’ ‘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 syn finder(scramble, scuttle, scurry, scamper or dash) out and buy The Synonym Finder by J.I Rodale.

Do a Google search for a verb list . . . here are a couple I found;

Click to access writer-action-verb-list.pdf

active verbs2

3 comments on “Hard Working Verbs

  1. Behind the Story
    February 5, 2015

    I can’t always think of good verbs off the top of my head, but I’m not ashamed to make use of synonym finders. Don’t you just love words like swaggered, traipsed, and meandered!

    • Mindy
      February 5, 2015

      I can’t write without my synonym finder. It’s my greatest tool/ Cheers, M

  2. scottsblog13
    February 2, 2015

    Thanks for this. The right verb search should be a hunt that writers undertake every time they sit down to write, in my opinion. Good to have reminders.

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