Monday, June 13, 2011

Compound Verbs Are Just Not That Into You

Tip of the day: For mechanics, my favorite book is Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King. It has great info on dialogue, point of view, etc. that scales up in difficulty so beginners and long-time writers will get a lot out of it.

Last week, I posted a tip about searching your manuscript for compound verbs. It's a basic tip, but one I want to elaborate on: compound verbs are not your friend. They're not starting to like you, they're not beginning to like you, they won't be liking you. They haven't liked you. There's only one way to put this: Compound verbs don't like you.

Oh, was that last sentence a little cold? Maybe you're thinking that compound verbs would never be that mean. You're right, they wouldn't. They're passive-aggressive whiners. They talk and talk, adding unnecessary words to your manuscript. They disguise themselves behind "-ing" and tell you that you need them. You can't write that they cried because they've been crying all along. Do you want your readers to think they just started crying?

Compound verbs began to pack their things, insisting they were leaving.

Oh, sure, compound verbs, you drama queens. Nobody believes you're leaving.

Compound verbs packed their things and left.

Huh, I guess they really meant it this time.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

1 comment:

DeenaML said...

LOL, OK, I'm a huge nerd. I loved this post. :)