Ok, since I haven’t done one in a month or more, maybe I should call this word of the month? But I don’t have a word. What I have is a phrase. WTF? I’m intrigued with the phrase because we use it publicly all the time when we don’t want to swear…but everyone knows it’s a swear…who are we fooling? It’s like when the folks on Battlestar Galactica say Frack to get around the TV censors (Sorry BSG if I just busted you and no one in the censorship bureau – or whoever bans words on TV – had figured that out yet. But I realized how silly it is for me to use WTF the other day when relating (to a dear friend who understands how crazy I am, but loves me anyway) a conversation I had with the universe.
Universe: Hello Laura, this week’s gift is ten pounds it will take you three months to loose.
Me: Thanks for the offer, but I don’t really want them. Could you make it rain kittens? But like a soft rain so the kittens don’t die or hurt anyone when they hit? Maybe a low-gravity kitten rain?
Universe: No kitten-rain is out. I do have some frogs on special.
Me: Never mind, but about these ten pounds –
Universe: That’s a done deal. But I know what will help. Here is a healthy helping of irrational emotion.
Me: How does that help?
Universe: It lets you know the weight gain isn’t a punishment, its just part of your natural cycle.
Me: What the Frack? (I’m no longer able to control myself and just say WTF politely pretending it might mean something other than Frack – just in case anyone who bans words on TV is reading, I wont use that other word.) What kind of fracked-up natural system involves random weight gain, hormones that might get me committed and ends in a week long cramped abdomen? I want to speak to management!
Universe: Don’t be rude or I won’t make it rain frogs.
By the way, I am totally going to keep saying WTF, but from now on I’m going to actually mean Frack. But not the explicative…more like the geological term…has something to do with mining and cracking rock I think…any hydrology…probably. (I’m totally not a rock scientist.)
Verbs add punch to your writing. They move your characters. They add tension with their action. But they can also provide a great way to describe things, creating memorable sentences and draw the scene for your reader. For example:
- Piles of clothes huddled in the corners.
- His body draped across the chesterfield.
- She thrust her idea forward, but Peter parried the blow.
Ok, these may be rather dramatic examples, but they illustrate a point. The sentences use verbs in an unexpected way, and they do so without adjectives. Pick up one of your favorite books and open it randomly to a page. Read the page and mark all of the verbs. How are they used? Did you notice them or did they melt into the background of the story? Did the author use adjectives with the verbs or did he let them stand alone? Once you’re done, spend ten minutes writing sentences that make creative and unexpected use of verbs. If part-way through the exercise one of the sentences inspires you to write, take up the challenge.