You know that boring description in the last book you read for school?
No, wait. You didn’t read it. You skipped the description because it was so dull.
It’s time to fix that. Here’s a paragraph from H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. Notice the specific and powerful verbs he uses to keep this description of refugees moving along:
There were sad, haggard women tramping by, well dressed, with children that cried and stumbled, their dainty clothes smothered in dust, their weary faces smeared with tears. . . . There were sturdy workmen thrusting their way along, wretched, unkempt men, clothed like clerks or shop-men, struggling spasmodically.
Tramping, stumbled, smothered, smeared, thrusting, and struggling. All powerfully descriptive verbs!
Wells’ vivid verbs keep this paragraph from being a boring list of refugees. These powerful verbs create an image of movement, pain, heartbreak, and danger.
Now it’s your turn: Copy out that paragraph by Wells and then rewrite it by using its structure. Remove all the adjectives, nouns, and verbs and add your own vivid and specific ones. Instead of folks escaping from London, how about shoppers rushing a store early Friday morning after Thanksgiving or travelers fleeing a train accident?
Your “skeleton” will look something like the sentence below, with all the adjectives, nouns, and verbs take out. Now you’re ready to create your own scene. Here’s the first sentence:
There were ________________, ___________________ ______________
________________________ by, ____________ ________________, with
_____________________ that _________________ and ______________,
their ___________ ______________ ________________ in ___________,
their ________________ _______________ ___________________ with
Copyright © 2015 by Sharon Watson
Photo in the public domain from http://www.wpclipart.com/space/solar_system/Mars/War_of_the_Worlds.png.html
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