Tuesday, October 19, 2021

3T Writing Tidbit

I have a bunch of index cards. Every time I come across a bit of writing wisdom, I write it on a card. I now have between fifty and a hundred cards, with one or more tidbits on each.

Here's one I came across, to give you an idea:

Clues to where it goes, goes there

  • -NO! Goes not there
  • or one step further
  • or sideways
  • or back

What are the consequences if she fails?

How does her decision affect the external world?

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits.  

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

2T Repeat Performance - Selling Verbs

 I've done a number of blog tours over the years, posting on different sites. Now I'm bringing them to you!

Originally published January 20, 2011 for the Samhellion


Cars chasing, crashing, exploding. Fireworks shooting, color splashing in the sky. A fire licking in the fireplace on a cold winter night.

Motion attracts us. I learned this early in my marriage, when I had to compete with a flickering television for my tired husband’s attention after a long day’s work. To be fair, he had to also compete for mine. :)

We writers can’t make words physically dance across the page. Or at least, not yet  :) For now we have to evoke motion with strong clean verbs.

Last month I talked about immediacy. Today I’m pushing (shoving forcing selling driving thrusting) verbs. I’m taking my example from Biting Me Softly, because it’s handy and I know how I changed it—and okay, because it’s coming out in paperback February 1 (bats eyelashes appealingly). “I” in this case is Liese, a girl-next-door computer geek. Logan is six-three of golden graceful vampire. They’ve just met but the attraction is instant and explosive.

 I squeaked, trembling between cold hard steel and hot hard Steel. My lips parted on a gasp and in that instant Logan’s mouth claimed mine.

His kiss was hungry, deep and driving, like he wanted to eat me to my toes. I was instantly on fire. I wrapped my arms around his neck, tried to fuse with his scorching strength to burn more. My breasts rasped against his thrust of chest, my nipples cinching. Logan’s fingers found the hard nubs, tightened around them like vises. Lightning bolts of need streaked through me. My respiration shot into overdrive. I swallowed a cry and arched into his palms. Logan’s fingers clamped harder. I shrieked.

Dropped, eat, fuse, and rasped are good strong verbs. I personally like squeak because it conveys character too. But I “was” on fire? Logan’s fingers “found” the hard nubs?

What verbs would you use instead? How about swept, grabbed, seized?

Fire swept my body, melting bones and muscles. I wrapped my arms around his neck to save myself from liquefying into a puddle of 10W-Liese at his feet. My breasts rasped against the thrust of his chest, my nipples cinched at the scorching heat. He grabbed my breasts two-handed, long fingers seizing the hard nubs and pinching them like vises.

What verbs would you choose? What are your favorites, and why?