Publishing 101: Verb Check-up

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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This is the first real edit I perform. The goal in this edit is to evaluate the strength of the verbs to see if they are the best I can use in the given situation. All edits should have goals (see below).

Get out your thesaurus. Ignore those people who say you should never use one; how else are you going to learn new, exciting words? I don’t use long, complicated words that the average individual would never use. I choose more appropriate simple verbs. There are a gazillion plain words out there. Add interest to your writing by adding a variety of them.

Instead of using only the ran verb, check your thesaurus for alternatives: he raced; he sprinted; he rushing; he dashed; he jogged; he darted; he rushed; he hurried; he scuttled, he scampered…and the list goes on.

When choosing a verb, imagine your character. If they are young and in shape, they may sprint, but if they are elderly with a bad leg, they might scuttle.

The benefit of selecting the perfect verb is you can almost always eliminate any adverbs associated with the weak verbs. Adverbs are the ‘ly’ words that follow a verb:

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