State of Being

State of Being


The ‘state of being’ verbs. The ‘be’ verbs. Basic grade school grammar which you probably memorized to pass the test. For writers, they are murder on your story.

The ‘be’ verbs are passive. To fully engage the reader, your writing must be active.

One of the best tips I learned at a conference is to search and highlight was in your manuscript. It’s easy to use was, as you’re dashing through that difficult first draft. Go ahead. Put a was in there, however you must go back and replace as many of them as you can with active verbs. Ramp up the imagery and heighten the action by using active verbs. In grade school, my sons learned a list of spicy words. We should all write more vividly, and spicier.

Instead of: She was running.  Make a list of other words to replace the verb run, such as: amble, bound, canter, dart, dash, escape, gallop, jog, scamper, scuttle. Each active word gives you a little different visual as opposed to “run”.

How many spicy words can you think of to replace jump?

Learn the B verbs:

be, being, been, was, just, very, to be, had to

Over the next few posts I’ll be blogging about basic grammar and story craft.  Until next week…

Thanks for following us at Wordsmith Six!

2 thoughts on “State of Being

  1. Thanks for doing it. I get so busy with other words that I forget the basics are the foundation of good grammar. Thanks for doing this.

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