Writing Tips Wednesday

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Let’s talk about adjectives

When writing, it is all to easy for most of us to keep using the same descriptors over and over. This is boring and sloppy work. For instance in my first and second drafts of a scene where trying to obscure sex and identity in the short story, “Combustion,”– Coming out May 30 in the anthology Gems of Strength–I overused killer and figure. It features arson, so I added in arsonist, murderer, and shadow.  If you can’t think of synonyms on your own, use a thesaurus to find similar words.

NOW A WORD OF CAUTION.  Know what these words mean before using them. The most overused, and wrongly applied word right now seems to be smirked. Smirking means to mock another or show superiority through a smile. I don’t know about you, but I have never found being on it’s receiving end to be sexy. Another one I have seen is glared sexily. Glaring means to stare hatefully at someone. Again, not sexy.

AVOID CLICHES. They are well known because they are used a lot. Find a fresh way of saying things. Again, I’m using romance as the example, because it’s what I write most. Manhood. Most people are thoroughly sick of it. If you aren’t comfortable with cock, penis, or other graphic words, try subtly like his length, his hardness, his erection. Avoid limpid pools for eyes. If her eyes are clear, try saying they are clear, or keen or simple, plain, or lucid. Orbs can be used for eyes. So can pupils and irises. Vision, sight, perception.

Use synonyms if repeating words in the same sentence. If using repeatedly and if cliched. I hope I’ve helped to make your writing stronger!

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