Descriptive Verbs Printable Book Mark

How Descriptive Are Your Verbs?
courtesy of http://banyantreestudio.com

If you’re looking for a great descriptive verb for your latest word picture, look no farther! This printable bookmark is filled with choices for creating dialogue, compelling descriptions of your character’s antics, or though-provoking sentences in any style or genre. as Debbie Maxwell Allen wrote in her blog, “Sentences that use walked, sat, and thought pale in comparison to stalked, sprawled, and stewed. However, don’t label yourself as a failure if strong verbs don’t automatically show up in your manuscript. Adding stronger verbs is something you do in your rewriting.”

Print this out on card stock for a handy reference that’s always at the ready—and another big thank you to artist Ginny Millard at www.banyantreestudio.com for creating it. Please visit Ginny’s website and let her know how much you appreciate having all these fantastic word choices at your fingertips.

If you like the idea of a bookmark filled with words, you’ll find another filled with Synonyms for Said in an earlier blog.

And don’t forget to “bookmark” Change It Up Editing and Writing Services for all your editing and writing needs in 2013. Let me help you say it the way you mean it!

Happy Writing!

—Candace

How Descriptive Are Your Verbs? Here is a list! #amwriting #writetip #writers Click To Tweet

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to my blog and you’ll never miss my posts! It’s easy: just enter your email address in the space between “Recent Posts” and “Archives” on this page. I won’t share your email address with anyone!

This bookmark originally appeared in the post You Are Not Alone.

Descriptive Verbs Bookmark

Today is Groundhog Day, the day in the United States when a little groundhog named Phil becomes a media star. Phil emerges to check for his shadow, and millions of Americans find out if they have to suffer six more weeks of winter OR if they will enjoy an early spring. Phil might be the solitary prognosticating groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania today, but as a writer, you are not alone.

Descriptive Verbs Bookmark
courtesy of Banyantreestudio.com

In Phil’s honor, I am unveiling a new bookmark today. It’s filled with descriptive verbs you can use for creating great dialogue, moving descriptions of Phil’s antics, or great sentences in any style or genre you write. Print this out on card stock for a handy reference that’s always at the ready—and another big thank you to artist Ginny Millard at www.banyantreestudio.com for creating it. Please visit Ginny’s website and let her know how much you appreciate having all these fantastic word choices at your fingertips.

And don’t forget to “bookmark” Change It Up Editing and Writing Services for all your editing and writing needs in 2013. Let me help you say it the way you mean it!

Remember: you are not alone!

Happy Writing!

—Candace

Pass the Passive Writing, Please!

Image courtesy of markuso at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I thought I was a pretty good writer when I was in college. I probably was, at least as far as making my argument was concerned. But unfortunately, I didn’t learn until after I graduated that I was guilty of a common writing error: I overused passive writing because I thought it sounded “literary.”

Boy, was I wrong! Yet I had plenty of company, and I can even point to a couple of good reasons why it happened and why writers continue to overwrite using the passive voice.

Are you making the mistake of using passive voice? Here are examples of the difference between active and passive voice. #editing #writing #writingtip #passivevoice Click To Tweet

Let me explain. In the active voice, the subject performs the action; in passive writing, the subject receives the action. It’s that simple. For example:

Active voice: Candace wrote a new blog about passive writing.

Passive voice: A new blog about passive writing was written by Candace.

In passive writing, the subject might even disappear from the sentence, like this:

A new blog about passive writing was written and posted.

In most cases, you want to emphasize the subject that does the action (active voice); in the passive voice, the subject receives the action. And because passive writing is often wordier than active writing, writers should always be looking for ways to craft a cleaner, more concise sentence.

While it is preferable to use an active voice most of the time, there is a time and place for passive writing. Daily Writing Tips puts it this way: “Passive writing is common in scientific papers because it lets the writers avoid using the words I or we, to avoid saying where their ideas came from That’s why some teachers think that passive voice sounds more educated. Usually, though, it’s simply less definite . . . but in the real world, when they have something to say, even scientists don’t have the luxury of not being definite.” And in A Writer’s Reference, author Diane Hacker writes,

“The passive voice is appropriate if you wish to emphasize the receiver of the action or to minimize the importance of the actor.”

Passive writing is tricky, though, and something you should work to avoid in most cases. Absolutewrite.com offers:

“It takes time and practice to eliminate such problems as expository dialogue and passive writing from your work. But the payoff for your hard work      and diligence will be a smoother style and a heightened ability to create remarkable stories.”

That sounds like a goal worth pursuing! So don’t try to sound “literary” or “educated” by overusing the passive voice when you write. If your grammar checker flags a passive sentence, take a careful look to be sure you’ve written it that way for a good reason. If not, it’s time for a revision.

A final word: in the classic Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English, author Patricia T. O’Connor writes, “If you have something to say, be direct about it. As in geometry, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” That’s good advice for all of us, so the next time you self-edit, say it the way you mean it and work to construct your sentences so they are direct and active.

—Candace

Next week: Avoiding Awkward Sentences

%d bloggers like this: