Writing Tip: Even Muscle Verbs Have Their Gentle Side

by Matilda Butler on July 12, 2010

catnav-alchemy-activePost #17 – Memoir and Fiction, Writing Alchemy – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler

memoir writing tip

A Writing Tip about Verbs

Writers know about verbs. Even school children know about verbs. So why are we devoting a video and a blog to the subject?

The noun and the verb are the most basic building blocks in the writer’s toolkit. When nouns and verbs are well-crafted, stories zing. Last week, Kendra posted her Writing in Five video called Writing Tips: Root Out the Adverbs based on Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. I decided that if we’re not to use adverbs, then I’d better produce a short video focused on the verb, using the ideas and advice of Rita Mae Brown.

Brown’s book, Starting from Scratch: A Different Kind of Writer’s Manual, has received mixed reviews but I found it full of ideas to make the writer in us rethink our habits that stand in the way of beautiful prose.

I hope the video helps you take greater care with your verbs.

After listening to Rita Mae Brown’s advice, what do you think of Gretel Ehrlich’s paragraph?

Be sure to leave your comments below.

“Far down the beach a bulldozer pushed sand into a high barrier in front of a row of houses. So much for the acclaimed ocean view. I’d rather be swamped by a rogue wave than wake up to a wall of sand every day. The sky filled with mare’s tails–streaming clouds that forecasted a change in weather–and below them, a single yellow tail of smog flew. A squirrel sat on a rock in front of the house, balancing himself by holding a spear of ice plant. He looked out to sea. I looked. What else was there to do? The weather changed but I was the same, or was I?” Gretel Ehrlich, A Match to the Heart, p. 69



{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Katrina Masterson July 17, 2010 at

This was one of your BEST videos! Eager to compare and take charge of my verbs. Thank you for this exceptional video!

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