Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Verbs do ... pretty much everything

 Thanks to the 10-12 people in the room today for Jacqui Banaszynski's webinar on verbs, via newsu.org. She covered so much ground about what verbs can do in your writing that she buzzed through some of her 10 verb tools too fast for us to take notes. Fortunately, the webinar replay is already up at the link above.

The 75-minute webinar was full of great stuff; if you don't have time to watch the whole thing, scroll to the part where Jacqui starts going through the 10 tools. She ends with a way you can vet your own copy for verb use -- print it out and highlight each verb/verb form in your story; see the patterns; revise as necessary. (There's much more to it -- scroll to about the one hour, 10-minute mark of the webinar and hit 'play.')

The group talked a bit after the webinar. Couple thoughts from me (and anyone who was there, please add your thoughts in comments):


  •  I was really interested in Jacqui saying that verbs can "bend time" -- you can change tense and tone to accomplish time changes in a story without losing clarity, as she put it. I need to go back into the webinar to focus on this part. I suspect some of you/us do that without realizing it, but if you don't realize you're doing it, you're probably not using it to its maximum advantage. 
  • I was struck by several examples she used that showed a paragraph crammed with action verbs -- so that, physically, there is a lot of activity in the graf -- followed by, or ended by, a line with a more "quiet" verb or verb form. The effect was almost physical for me -- a flurry of action and then a soft settling down of the language, of the story. Again, that is something worth learning how to do, learning to master.