Empty Adjectives and Actionless Verbs

Here’s a great shared blog post from my writer friend Sandy Baker. She also writes primarily for children.

Garden Plots . . .

“Show, don’t tell.” That’s the admonition from the experts whether you’re writing songs, Chekov shownovels, short stories, or memoir. For example, adjectives are descriptors, but some are “empty” and don’t provide information that shows us anything new; they do not let the reader experience the moment. When you describe a flower or woman as pretty or gorgeous, you’re saying nothing except that neither the flower nor the woman is ugly. You’re not saying in what way the woman or flower is pretty. Show the beauty, don’t tell it. Paint a word picture. You can describe a flower as having sea- shell pink petals that form a perfect outward spiral, touched with sparkling diamond droplets from the early morning dew and swaying on slender prickly stems toward the earth from the weight of the saucer-sized blooms. Vivid. Now the reader can visualize the flower and decide what pretty is, whereas, using just…

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About robinofrockridge

I write books for kids.
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2 Responses to Empty Adjectives and Actionless Verbs

  1. Excellent blog, vividly written, Sandy. Thanks, Robin, for posting it.


  2. writersandy says:

    Thanks, Robin, for the reblog, and Arletta, for the comments. It’s an especially important issue in writing for young children when there are so few words in a kid’s book.


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