Daily Archives: March 5, 2010

Don’t Beat Me Over the Head

I have always been a huge advocate of using strong, active verbs in writing.  They move the story along with very little need for adverbs.  The correct verb can also provide emotion, description and attitude.  It packs a powerful punch.

However, I am in the middle of a book filled with strong verbs.  Every sentence utilizes a unique verb.  I have never wanted a was, is or a has been so much in my life.  For example:

“Regret graveled in his throat…”

“The scene fuzzed in his mind.”

“Low current shimmied in his mind.”

“He thumped to his desk….”

“Air shuddered down her throat.”

“Gravity sucked her blood to her feet.”

“His muscles startled.”

And my two favorites…

“Rage popped around his chest…”

“His rage splattered higher.”

These, and about twelve more, were found on two pages of my newest read.  While these images are vivid, an entire novel written this way has become distracting.  I am currently more invested in the verbs than the story. 

It just goes to show that there can be too much of a good thing.  Like anything in writing, balance is the key.  Beating your reader over the head with any kind of writing is annoying.  Because of that, I’m actually thankful to the author for writing this book.  It has taught me another valuable lesson on less is more.  Each manuscript will need to be reread with an eye to verb usage.  And so goes the writing life….

What are your best worst sentences?  The ones you thought were so poetic and perfect upon writing, but laughed at upon editing? 

Do you ever beat your readers over the head?  Have you read books where this happens?