Words to use instead of creative writing

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Words to use instead of creative writing



Creating powerful prose requires killing off the words, phrases, and sentences that gum up your text. While a critical eye and good judgment are key in this process, some terms almost always get in the way. Here are eight words or phrases that should be hunted down in your story and deleted with extreme prejudice. Do you know what's more effective for creating the sense of the sudden? Just saying what happens. When using "suddenly," you communicate through the narrator that the action seemed sudden.

By jumping directly into the action, you allow the reader to experience that suddenness first hand. Just … suddenly. Feel free to employ "suddenly" in situations where the suddenness is not apparent in the action itself. For example, in "Suddenly, I don't hate you anymore," the "suddenly" substantially changes the way we think about the shift in emotional calibration.

You can almost always eliminate your then s without disrupting meaning or flow. I woke up. Then I , brushed my teeth. Then I , combed my hair. Then I , and went to work. For example, "I drove to the supermarket.

Then I realized I didn't need to buy anything. You almost never need the phrase "in order to" to express a point. The only situation where it's appropriate to use this phrase is when using "to" alone would create ambiguity or confusion. And after ten minutes of brainstorming for an example of a proper time to use "in order to," I haven't been able to come up with anything. Legitimate uses of "in order to" are just that few and far between.

Words are self-contained descriptors, and saying, "Think of tasty. Now think of more tasty" doesn't help readers develop a better sense of the meal or person you're describing.

Mark Twain suggested that writers could "substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. Even better? Is, am, are, was, or were—whatever form your "is" takes, it's likely useless. When's the last time you and your friends just "was'd" for a while? Have you ever said, "Hey, guys, I can't—I'm busy am-ing"? The "is" verbs are connecting terms that stand between your readers and the actual description.

Any time you use "is," you're telling the reader that the subject is in a state of being. Using an "ing" verb tells the audience the verb is in process. By using " is verb ing ," you're telling your audience that the subject is in the state of being of being in the process of doing something. But don't gunk up your verbs with unnecessary is, am, or was-ing. Any action a person takes is started, continued, and finished. All three of these can be expressed by the root form of the verb. For example, "I jumped.

When did it finish? If you've been doing yoga for six years, you could reasonably say, "I started doing yoga six years ago. But when describing action in a story, there are few circumstances where "start" is effective.

Is it a single scream? Use "He screamed. Rather than clueing us in unnecessarily, show us the series of screams first-hand. Do you want to introduce a changed state, such as escalating from loud speaking into screaming? Show us the decibels, the gruffness of voice, the way the air feels to the person he's screaming at, and the hot dryness in the screamer's throat as his volume crescendos.

When "that" is employed to add a description, you can almost always move the description to before the term and make a more powerful image. In many other cases, "that" can simply be dropped or replaced with a more descriptive term. Many other uses of "that," such as "I wish I wasn't that ugly", can be enhanced with more descriptive language.

I'm not just saying that, like, you shouldn't, like, talk like a valley girl though that too. Here's the problem: "Like" is used to show uncertainty. And you. Be bold. When making a comparison, use force. Use metaphor over simile. Don't let yourself cop out by coming up with a halfway description. My eyes rested on the gun for a sliver of a moment. I snapped forward, grabbed it, and it was like the chill metal flowed from the gun into my veins.

One of the 36 articles by the infamously fantastic Chuck Palahniuk dives into the issue of like in great detail. It's well worth checking out. As always, Orwell's final rule applies: "Break any of these rules before saying anything barbarous. However, especially among inexperienced writers, these words are frequently molested and almost always gum up the works. Apply these lessons immediately and consistently to empower your words.

Then, with practice, you will suddenly realize that you are starting to naturally trim the text in order to create prose that is very powerful. Robbie Blair is a world-wandering author and poet who blogs about his adventures, the writing craft, and more.

He was doomed to write when, at just three years old, his English-professor father taught him the "To be or not to be" soliloquy.

To leave a comment Login with Facebook or create a free account. Rob, every time I think I've got a handle on this writing thing, you come up with something else new to challenge me with! Thanks for ALL your great articles on writing. I learn something new every time. Close second is "so. So what? It should be fun. I recently went to the Dali Museum in Paris; his sculptures are fantastic.

There are cases where "impressionistic" views can be useful. But I'm undecided on my personal "rule. You're dead on with "so. Sounds like a good challenge! It's a quick way to see where I've stumbled and over-bloated my text. Often true. For example, instead of "I got herpes," you could say, "I achieved herpes. Hey maaaan, writing isn't about rules, it's about feelings. Don't try and hem me into your button-down plastic-fantastic Madison avenue scene, man!

I'm surprised all the free-form artistes here at LR haven't tied you to a tree and set you on fire yet. Cuz, you know man, there are no rules. Fascism is what it is! Regarding 'Started', would it be fair to say that an action shouldn't "start" unless it then stops?

Like a language version of that adage: If there's a gun in the first act, it has to go off in the second. I snapped forward, grabbed it, and the chill metal flowed from the gun into my veins. If an agent or an editor read that, they would recycle bin your manuscript immediately.

Rob, stop giving budding writers advice. I created this account for the sole purpose of telling you that. You have to have command of the English language yourself before you can go around telling everyone else what to do with it.

And you don't. I'm a fan of irony. I especially like online sarcasm. Edward: I'm still giving that some thought. I'm thrilled. Truly, your rage honors me. You're entitled to your opinion and, more importantly, you're entitled to your own voice.

Some people prefer the most minimalistic descriptions around.

How can we help?

I must say, Rob, I feel a lot better about your work now that I know you're a recent grad. Utah Valley State, right? I take back what I said. You're not a bad writer for your age. But you still have a long way to go, and quite a few lessons to learn about the craft. Trapsing around Europe for a few months will not turn you into the next Kerouac.

I'm sure I have a great many lessons to learn about the craft. Becoming a better writer is something I hope to do constantly in my life. EDIT: Don't talk down to me based on my age or status within traditional education. Writing is my profession.

I'm here on LitReactor, not to mention various other places on the web, to share my knowledge and experience. Don't dismiss me as "not bad for my age. Dislike my style all you want. Criticize my examples, phrases, concepts, or stories.

But don't pat me on the head. In the end, the only thing that matters is the content I produce. Why don't you share some of your insights on the looming Random Penguin merger? How will it affect imprints and authors under contract? How will it affect Amazon? Please tell me, with as much detail as you believe my poor little brain can handle, how the editorial calender works at a major periodical, and what are the primary differences between MLA, CMS, and AP style, and which do most periodicals prefer?

Actually, scratch that. Just share some of your vast experience navigating an acquisition editor's editorial note before they purchased one of your books. And hey, what's the difference between TPB and mass market anyway? How exactly does projected product mix affect an author's advance and royalty rates?

Oh, and, after the publisher's launched your first book, how are you supposed to tell your editor what your second one is going to be about?

Do you have to stick to whatever you tell them? Is it better to be a pantser or an outliner and why? You may have some of the former, but you have zero of the latter, in real world terms. Blogging may pay your bills, but, beyond other bloggers, and being able to throw something on a writer's resume, it doesn't count. Ask any agent. You've never been traditionally published by any major outlet, just the lit magazine at UVSC, twice. And not to belittle poets or short story writers, but you've never written a single work longer than 50, words, save for maybe a current WIP I'm unaware of.

Sure, you're trying, hustling, but you're just getting started. You've had no tangible successes yet. Flv is a douche. I get the feeling he jerks off while he types and cums the moment he presses POST.

Vonnegut: No need to troll the trolls. As Ghandi once said, "Hate cannot extinguish hate. Only semi-automatic weapons can do that. I accept that you're trying to squeak out a living. Blog all you want about your musings, your adventures, but stop giving writing advice.

You are not qualified to do so in any way, shape, or form. If making sure you get that message through your thick skull loud and clear is trolling, then yeah, that's exactly what I'm doing.

EDIT: Had the name of this post been "8 Words I Seeked and Destroyed in My Writing", and you'd gone through your list and explanations in terms of your own journey and self improvement, then this entire two-day episode would not have occurred. Some of these disagreements are still, to me, pretty subjective. But I can't stand by when anyone tries to claim figures of speech are outdated and should die. Rob, useful to keep in mind the overuse of such words.

I think you can use "in order to" when a character is overly-formal. I guess you can use pretty much anything if you want to make a point about a character, so my point isn't really that useful. Here are eight words or phrases that in my opinion should be hunted down in your story and deleted with extreme prejudice. That's my take on it, anyhow. And you're absolutely right that character voice often overwrites "rules. Seb: There's always a tricky line to dance around when you're writing content for the web.

Overstating your points drains a piece's authority at least for some readers , but writing articles filled with qualifiers can be wearing and deprive the content of its punch again, this is true for some but not all readersand it's especially true here because of stylistic choices I made, such as using the "seek and destroy" mentality to frame the article. And there are secondary questions of what the objective is. Is it to state the case for questioning these words as accurately as possible, eliminating potential misinterpretations or argument on subjective content?

Or do you sacrifice those extra layers admitting the various subjectives, elaborating on the counter-arguments, providing broader examples with contextual frames, etc. It's not a set of questions that leads to easy answers. There are simply choices to be made, and various consequences to face.

I chose to write the article in the way I did, and it's been viewed more than 10 thousand times over 48 hours, with thousands of social shares. And I've upset FLV. But, of course, there are downsides too. Rob, I think you made valid points in the article. The only thing I take issue with is people writing subjective, opinion-based articles and presenting them as fact. There are a lot of those type of articles here, and I would just prefer a single, subtle reference to the article being simply the authors opinion, and not cast iron fact.

The Chuck Palahniuk essays contain said disclaimers. If it's good enough for Chuck, it should be good enough for everyone else to include. We're writing about writing here. Not scientific facts. It goes without saying that what an author writes about writing is opinion, not fact. Litreactor's branding, part of the draw to this site, to its seminars, is predicated upon the expertise of the contributors. Novices give you their hard-earned dollars, deferring to you and Chuck and everyone else because you are supposedly individuals who know the terrain, have successfully navigated it, and are willing to show them a way through.

Yes, I agree. I have, and all the seminar leaders have - to some extent, anyway - "successfully navigated it and are willing to show" our students "the way through.

Except for basic grammar issues, the kind that aren't adjudicated by us as individual writers, it's all opinion. What Rob writes about is not grammar; it's style. And that's not a matter of fact but of opinion. If style was factual, we'd all write the same shit. We don't. We write different shit. I don't think you should avoid using these words and similes just because bad writers do it incorrectly. If you're good and you can pull it off, write however the hell you want to write.

It's just that there's so many bad apples ruining the bunch right now. Good stuff--lucid, insightful, and entertaining. I mean the original article; some of the comments are bizarre. For instance, flv at one point criticizes you for using "in order to," not realizing you did so in a parody sentence designed to demonstrate the problems you had discussed; flv also has a problem with verb conjugation--the suggested title "8 Words I Seeked and Destroyed in My Writing" should be "8 Words I Sought and Destroyed in My Writing.

On "in order to," "Seb" on Nov. Since you were having a problem coming up with examples where "in order to" could be justified, I thought I'd come up with one:. Seb: Well, I did hope that my examples of exceptions, as well as my second to last paragraph "As always, Orwell's final rule applies [ Stylistic choices certainly come into play for online articles, too.

I've written literally thousands of articles in my time as a freelancer, and my choice to avoid the soft-peddled teachings of "I think, in my humble opinion, that this could maybe be" have little to do with ideal accuracy and clarifying the line between fact and opinion. Rather, it's about creating content that succeeds in the specific ways I want it to succeed. That was achiveed. And my choices about how to frame and phrase the content are based partially with that objective in mind.

There is also a matter of style. I try to write the sort of content I enjoy reading, and I get irked by people who constantly say "in my opinion," etc. It feels like they're talking down to me, not trusting me to discern that distinction for myself. Ed: Thanks so much for commenting! Writing can be such a tricky art, especially when it comes to sharing our experience. We all come to strong opinions that we rapidly universalize. For many of us, an opinion quickly feels like gospel.

Being able to recognize the potential within all the "different shit" is, I feel, a crucial part of how writers learn. I also think definitions of success are both valuable and treacherous. Flv is right that I have a lot of advice to offer freelancers and bloggers writing over a million words of content in that field certainly refines a specific set of skills , but writing is a craftand, in many ways, a particular way of approaching the world.

ConMan: You're definitely right that these words can be used effectively. As writers, we must consistently ask ourselves, "Is this word carrying its weight? Is there a better option?

Bruce: What a fantastic example of an appropriate use of "in order to. Thanks for this great article. I've learned these things the hard way over the years, hearing them over and over from my editors. As for the imagery issue, or fancy speech tags, there has to be a balance.

Too much and it's flowery, too little and your voice has no style. Genre factors in also. I write romance The use of stylish writing comes down to a light touch, IMO. You can use "he murmured" in a book once--at the perfect moment--and it's powerful. Use it five or six times and it's just annoying. Oh, and "just" is my new seek-and-destroy word. I use it all the time see the sentence above and it just serves no purpose. Haha, I did it on purpose that time. Annabel: I definitely agree that imagery is about balance, and that context is a huge part of what balance is appropriate.

A light touch can be powerful, but it's not the only way. However, if your style is a poetic form of prose, you've targeted a niche audience. So long as you're aware of and okay with that, I say more power to you. I like it in dialogue; it's a word that creeps up a lot when people talk. I've actually gone on long rants about how "just" is the most un just word we use, but I still have a hard time making calls on whether to delete any "just" I've written.

You are putting yourself out there, helping people, making a solid effort at writing for a living, and bravely opening yourself up to criticism. You are doing a good thing. He is not. This narcissitic guy apparently has nothing better to do but sit around trolling and flaming people on the internet.

People who have the guts he doesn't have to put themselves out there so he can put them down and thereby feed his narcissistic supply which in some sick way makes himself feel better about his empty existence. He doesn't even have the guts to use his real name. Everyone who reads his comments knows to ignore him just based on that fact alone no matter how much he preens with his publishing-industry jargon. Sadly, gutless wonder narcissists like him exist out there.

The best way to deal with them is to ignore them. It hurts their lack of feelings. I'll bet he comments and critiques my grammar or tries to insult me as a predictably sick way to defend himself. I personally think its alright to have characters use these words in conversations, especially if they're telling stories.

James: Thanks so much for chiming in for the anti-troll grouping of these comments. I really do appreciate you taking the time. Content creation is tricky business; as soon as something you write is good enough to draw people's attention, it's also big enough that people will hate you for it. William: Absolutely agreed. In keeping my article shorter, I left out a lot of caveats and addendums.

These are words we should be sensitive about using. They often fail to carry their own weight. Dialogue, however, is an entirely different matter. As the article stated that does not mean it is never appropriate to use any of them.

I think the comment thread was better than the article. Thanks for nothing. Now I am going to have to read all the articles because some of the best litreactor stuff seems to be hiding downstairs here in the stacks and not sitting upstairs in the coffee house or on the roof lazing at the bar.

Re-reading the comments, I'm surprised everyone just accepted the premise of "I'm going to critique your craft essay as if it were a novel. Novels and essays have completely different ends. Novels engage a reader on a visceral and emotional level, and use extra words to pull the reader in.

Essays impart facts or opinions directly and succinctly. A novel written like an essay will be a miserable failure, unless you're doing some sort of Ulysses -style experimental fiction. An essay written like a novel will also fail miserably, unless the purpose isn't only to inform which, in this case, it is.

I know I'm about three months late to the conversation, but this just blows my mind. Stylistic criticisms aside, why on earth would anyone apply novel-writing standards to an essay? Even if we're applying those standards to examples of fiction writing within the essay, if I were in Rob's shoes, I'd be crafting those sentences to get the point across directly and succinctly.

Novel-writing standards just don't apply when the purpose isn't to write a novel. Skip to Main Content Area. Hello, if this is your first time here, login with Facebook or create a free account to get started. Otherwise, Click here to log in. Follow litreactor. You Might Also Like The 10 Most Badass Literary Children. More By This Author. The Problem with Rape's Portrayal in Fiction. ChristyWilsonWriter November 9, - am. Login or register to post comments. Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies November 9, - am.

Dave from a city near you is reading constantly November 9, - am. Hate that word. Yes, I've used it on occasion. Kelsey Saunders November 9, - am. Robbie Blair from lots of places is reading a whole stack of books November 9, - pm. Christy: You're too kind. Richard: 1 Cool Dali pic as your avatar. Tejun: Sounds like a good challenge! Kelsey: Often true. Robbie Blair from lots of places is reading a whole stack of books November 9, - am.

What a well worded last paragraph, you sly dog. Shaiz Khan from Here and there. Lost and stuff now. Edward Byrne November 9, - pm. Couple things, Rob: "ing verbs" are called participles. When employed in a subordinating clause that describes a noun, that clause becomes a participle phrase, and they are not always a creative writer's friend. Sometimes they make a sentence too busy, especially when there's a dialog tag in it.

The "is verb" is to be. Using to be in a sentence can give it a passive voice, but it doesn't always. And sometimes, especially when writing in third person past tense, there is no other verb that can convey a writer's message. You shouldn't just avoid similes. They lead to overwriting. For example: "My eyes rested on the gun for a sliver of a moment. Less is more, not the other way around. It could easily put you in running for the Bulwer-Lytton.

Shaiz: Thanks for the offer. But no. I second what Richard said, and add 'however'. Fair enough. For very hot: "No one. Nice article Rob. These are substantive failings.

It's haters gon' hate, or, hater gon hate. Pound : see lumber Power walk : walk briskly for fitness Prance : walk joyfully, as if dancing or skipping Promenade : see parade Pussyfoot : walk stealthily or warily also, be noncommittal Ramble : walk or travel aimlessly also, talk or write aimlessly, or grow wildly Roam : see ramble Sashay : see parade Saunter : to walk about easily Shamble : see scuff Shuffle : see scuff also, mix, move around, or rearrange Stagger : walk unsteadily also, confuse or hesitate, or shake Stalk : walk stealthily, as in pursuit Stomp : walk heavily, as if in anger Stride : walk purposefully, with long steps Stroll : see saunter Strut : see parade Stumble : walk clumsily or unsteadily, or trip Stump : see lumber Swagger : walk with aggressive self-confidence Tiptoe : walk carefully on the toes or on the balls of the foot, as if in stealth Toddle : see saunter and stagger ; especially referring to the unsteady walk of a very young child Totter : see stagger also, sway or become unstable Tramp : see lumber and hike Trample : walk so as to crush something underfoot Traverse : walk across or over a distance Tread : walk slowly and steadily Trip : walk lightly; see also stumble Tromp : see lumber Troop : walk in unison, or collectively Trot : see nip Trudge : see plod Waddle : walk clumsily or as if burdened, swinging the body Wander : see ramble.

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8 Words to Seek and Destroy in Your Writing

Find 1, synonyms for creative and other similar words that you can use instead based on 14 separate contexts from our thesaurus. About us and these terms. Hi, we’re Envato and welcome to Envato Elements, a subscription service for digital Items created by designers and creatives from around the helpmeessay.online we say ‘we’, ‘us’ or ‘Envato’ it’s because that’s who we are and we own and run the Envato Elements platform.. When you create an Envato account and accept these terms you become a member of our helpmeessay.online  · Envato Customer Success aims to respond to all queries within 24 hours. Please note that we do not offer help via phone or live chat. We can't assist with suggesting items, pre-sales enquiries or helpmeessay.online


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