Writer · writing, grammar, and punctuation · YA Author

WALK THIS WAY

walking picWalk. A typical word found in every manuscript and story, but one the writer often overlooks as a way to create mood, show body language, and provide a clear picture of the character’s emotional status, without telling the reader how the character feels.

But does this really matter?  It depends on the above mentioned things, context, and what the writer is hoping the sentence portrays.

He walked to the store.

Locating her dog, she walked over.

They walked to the gate.

Without context, we don’t have any idea what the character’s mood is, what they want, and the overall feel of the scene.

With the hundred-dollar-bill burning a hole in his pocket, he walked to the store.

Locating her dog near the edge of a busy street she walked over.

Arriving at the airport ten minutes late, they walked to their gate.

With just a little more information, we can clearly come to the conclusion that each of these sentences carries a sense of urgency, and therefore, since “walked” doesn’t support that urgency, it isn’t the best word choice.

With the hundred-dollar-bill burning a hole in his pocket, he ran to the store.  running pic

Locating her dog near the edge of a busy street, she bolted over.

Arriving at the airport ten minutes late, they raced to their gate.

So before you choose to use the word “walked,” determine what you’re trying to portray to the reader (suspense, fear, urgency, happiness, etc.), and make sure each word choice supports that vision.

Below you will find a handy list of synonyms for walked.

Happy writing.

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Rebecca Carpenter,

Copy editor at Kate Foster Professional Editing Services, Award-winning Ya author, Assistant Editor at Lakewater Press

 

Amble                      Stumble

Bounced                   Stump

Clump                      Swagger

Falter                        Tiptoe

Foot it                       Toddle

Footslog                    Totter

Gimp                         Traipse

Hike                          Tramp

Hobble                      Trample

Hoof it                      Travers

Leg it                        Tread

Limp                         Trip

Lumber                     Tromp

Lurch                        Troop

March                       Trot

Mince                       Trudge

Mosey                      Waddle

Nip                           Wander

Pace

Parade

Perambulate

Peregrinate

Plod

Pound

Power walk

Prance

Promenade

Pussyfoot

Ramble

Sashay

Scuff

Shamble

Shuffle

Stagger

Stalk

Step

Stomp

Stride

Stroll

Strut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writer · writing, grammar, and punctuation · YA Author

Tar”get”ing GET

Tar“get”ing GET

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Let’s face it, everyone uses “get” when they speak. The verb is probably one of the most used words in the English dictionary. So what’s the big deal with all the fid“get”ing over the use of “get” in a manuscript?

Simply put, “get” is a weak verb, generic, a quick go-to which has hundreds of different meanings.

Example: He needs to get to the store and get some food before the kids get home from school.

Not only is this repetitive, but each time “get” is used, a better, more vivid verb can replace it, creating a stronger sentence and clearer picture.

Example: He needs to hurry to the store and buy some food before the kids return home from school.

This sentence paints a clear picture of exactly what’s going on, placing an emphasis on the lack of time before the children return and that they will probably be hungry. Or maybe he doesn’t like to shop with the kids. Whatever the reason, this sentence lends a hand into the precise meaning of the words.

But what if I changed the meanings of the word “get” in the sentence?

Example: He needs to sneak into the store and steal some food before the kids arrive from school.

This completely changes the meaning of the sentence, providing the reader a different take on the word “get” and therefore, creating a completely different scene.

So as you see, it really is important to be specific and make sure you’re writing paints a clear picture as to the meaning of the word.

While it’s okay to use “get” on occasion—especially if a more vivid verb doesn’t appear to be available, a strong writer will seek them out and change as many as possible. On a positive note, use of “get” is always fine in dialogue, but I still look for places that I can switch them out as well.

Whatever you do, don’t allow this pesky word to halt your creativity. Write as many “gets” in your first draft as necessary, just to “get” the story on paper. When you begin to revise, perform a search and carefully study each one for meaning, and determine if the word should be left or changed out.

Your prose will be stronger, and you will be one step closer to an unfor“get”table manuscript.

 

043017_0006_1.jpgRebecca Carpenter is a copyeditor at Kate Foster Professional Editing. She also provides copyediting for Lakewater Press, and her YA novel, Butterfly Bones, is an Official Selection in the New Apple Awards for excellence in indie publishing.