Action is action, or is it? I consider creative writing to be equal to painting on a canvas. Just like a paint brush glides across a canvas, so too does a writing utensil move across a sheet of paper and fingers type words across a blank screen. In each case a picture is created. The difference lies in how we see it; words vs. a literal picture, but words create images in our mind that we see as we read them. How easily we see these pictures depends on how well we use the words that create them. Also, both ways create feeling, but they do it in different ways.
There are two ways to create pictures with words. One way uses adjectives (or descriptive words), which I’ll talk about in future post. The other way uses action words (otherwise known as verbs). In so doing, there are different ways to describe one particular action, but you want to do it in a way that allows the mind’s eye to see it and focus on it better yet create feeling at the same time. Note the sentences below.
Sentence 1: John walked slowly to his car after a long day at work.
Sentence 2: John trudged across the parking lot after a long day at work.
The first sentence is weaker because, even though we see the action, it doesn’t give off any feeling. Not only that, but using an adverb, such as slowly, weakens the action. We can’t feel how tired John is as he’s walking across the parking lot. However, sentence 2 is stronger and more direct because we are better able to not only see the action clearer, but we feel how tired John is as well. I’m pretty sure most of you can identify with this after a long day at work yourselves.
This isn’t something you are going to up and do right off the bat as you’re writing your scenes, chapters, short stories, etc., because you don’t want to stop the flow of creativity. So this is what I recommend: write first, inspect second, fix/change third. Everyone is different, so work it in a way that makes sense to you.
If you need assistance finding stronger action words, there are a wide variety of resources out there to look at. Below are a few of them.
Here are some helpful links
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