Saturday, December 29, 2012

Active descriptions.

I love authors who are good story tellers. Usually, when I read a novel, I don't focus on the writing itself and instead enjoy the story. However, when I am editing my own work and then take a break to read, I sometimes want to take a red pen to the book. My husband suggested it would be a good exercise to edit another author's work. I told him I couldn't because it was an ebook.

One thing I look for in my own writing is the verb to be. Certainly, there are acceptable times to use a linking verb. But it can also make writing drab. Take for example this sentence: "The wooden fence was covered with vines." This describes the fence, but it's passive and less engaging for the reader. Let's make it active. "Vines covered the wooden fence." Better, but a truly active description goes beyond active voice. How about this: "Vines crawled over the wooden fence." Albeit the vines are not actually crawling, the verb invokes an metaphorical action in the reader's mind.

You might be inclined to say that the picture is still, why does it need to show action? I say kick boring verbs to the curb! The art is to make these word choices subtly so that the reader gets lost in enjoying the story. Write an active description for the picture and leave it in the comments.

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