#2 – VERBS – STRONG ACTIVES

RESTORE BY NUMBERS

I provide a passage from a master that has been vandalized (by me) at the numbered locations.  You restore the original. 

THE CRIME:

Brun turned on his heel (1) and walked with long steps (2) toward the ridge.  As he came around (3) the jutting nose, he stopped, held by the sight beyond.  Excitement flowed (4) through his veins.  A cave!  And what a cave!  From the first instant he saw it, he knew it was the cave he was looking for, but he made a strong effort (5) to control his emotions, to keep his growing hopes in check.  With conscious effort, he paid close attention to (6) the details of the cave and its setting . . . The opening was on the south side (7), open (8) to sunlight most of the day . . . Brun looked around (9) the area, making a quick survey . . . He made a signal (10) to Grod and Creb . . .

Clue:

A strong verb expresses the action of the subject, vividly and accurately.  No. (1) is strong, made stronger by the adverbial phrase “on his heel”, which is indispensable to the verb.  The other numbered verbs (and one participle) have been deliberately weakened.  Replace them (along with, sometimes, other elements in the predicate).

Copy and paste the passage elsewhere in order to edit it.  Then check E.J.’s comments below.

A Tip:

The greater your vocabulary, the more ­effective your writing. We who write in English are fortunate to have the richest and most versatile language in the world. – P.D. James

THE ORIGINAL (Jean M. Auel in “The Clan of the Cave Bear”):

Brun turned on his heel (1) and strode (2) toward the ridge.  As he rounded (3) the jutting nose, he stopped, held by the sight beyond.  Excitement surged (4) through his veins.  A cave!  And what a cave!  From the first instant he saw it, he knew it was the cave he was looking for, but he fought (5) to control his emotions, to keep his growing hopes in check.  With conscious effort, he focused on (6) the details of the cave and its setting . . . The opening faced south (7), exposed (8) to sunlight most of the day . . . Brun scanned (9) the area, making a quick survey . . . He signaled (10) to Grod and Creb . . .

E.J.’s Comments:

(2) “Strode” means “walked with long steps” and connotes energetic, purposeful movement.

(3) “Rounded” is concise.

(4) “Surged” suggests speed and power.

(5) “Fought” emphasizes the struggle.

(6) “Focused on” suggests the effort involved.

(7) Again, concision.

(8) “Exposed” suggests the photographic effect, or the sunbather’s pleasure, or even vulnerability.  These are cave people, with plenty of enemies.

(9) “Scanned” means “looked around”, and connotes trained, purposeful action.

(10) Concision achieved.

Bonus Tip: A strong active verb conveys the action vividly, accurately, and quickly.

Advertisements

About EJ Lavoie

Writer and independent publisher with website www.WhiskyJackPublishing.ca
This entry was posted in RESTORE BY NUMBERS, WRITING and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s