Verbs Rule, Adjectives Drool
If you ask the average person how to describe something, they are likely to use adjectives andadverbs. But in writing, (especially in poetry, but also in prose) adjectives and adverbs weigh down theread. The more modified a noun or verb is, the less powerful.It's easiest to see this with an example:
Lilly ran slowly. The heavy, cold rain had soaked through her now sodden shirt.
It's serviceable writing. We can visualize the scene, but it feels like obvious narration, as if acamera's eye is describing events. In two sentences, we have 1 adverb, 3 adjectives, and 2 verbs. Let's play with some stronger verbs and see what happens.
Lilly slogged through rain slick streets. She shivered, her shirt plastered to her skin.
In the second example, we omitted the adverb, "
," and replaced it (and its weak verb'
') with one strong verb: "
." We use "
"--which can be both a noun and a verb--as anadjective as in '
' to modify streets. In the second sentence, we have 2 strong verbs: "
" and no adjectives at all.The second example also has more emotion and atmosphere than the first. That's because strongverbs carry nuance and emotion better than weaker verbs. Strong verbs are descriptive on their own
Poetry for the Novelist/ LJCohen page 2