• One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.
    Jack Kerouac
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Just Write (56)

Just Write (56)

The Action of a Sentence

I have a list of editorial advice I almost always give, regardless of genre. Of course, every writer has their quirks and tics--those nagging issues that bedevil their work. But over the years, I have realized there are many quirks we share. You probably don't commit every sin on my list, but you're probably guilty of a few.

Lazy sentences are one of these common sins.

On a sentence level, we bury the lede. We mitigate. We overwhelm the action with words. We are boring. We lose our reader and our meaning. Don't give into the verbal malaise--make your sentences active. Think about your verbs and be certain every sentence actually has one. 

Today's writing prompt is a sentence generator focused on this missing action. Don't overthink it. Have fun. 


From the ever wise Natalie Goldberg:

Fold a sheet of paper in half the long way. On the left side of the page list ten nouns. Any ten.





Now turn the paper over to the right column. Think of an occupation; for example, a carpenter, doctor, flight attendant. List fifteen verbs on the right half of the page that go with that position.

A Cook:






Open the page....Try joining the nouns with the verbs to see what new combinations you can get, and then finish the sentences, casting the verbs in the past tense if you need to.

Dinosaurs marinate in the earth.

The fiddles boiled the air with music.

The lilacs sliced the sky into purple.


This does not mean that while you are writing you should stop and contemplate a new verb for an hour. Only, be aware of your verbs and the power they have and use them in fresh ways. 

*I've truncated this section from Writing Down the Bones. I urge you to read the whole damn book. 


Just Write (57)
Just Write (55)


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Thursday, 08 December 2022

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