Yesterday we looked at ways to avoid using the present tense of the verb “to be.” Today, let’s reflect on the past. The past tense of “to be,” that is.
I know, I know . . . you all know the forms of the past tense of “to be,” but here you go anyway:
I was sitting at my computer waiting for inspiration to hit.
Same thing happens to me.
While I stared at my blank computer screen, my fickle mistress Madame Inspiration, was on a date with someone else.
When we were finished reading Robin’s manuscript, our book group banned her for life.
Aw . . . how sad.
We read Robin’s manuscript and sent it to Mr. Pulitzer for consideration for next year’s prize.
She was surprised when she received a rejection notice from Mr. Pulitzer
Really? Is she delusional?
Robin framed the rejection notice from Mr. Pulitzer because he was kind enough to add a handwritten note at the bottom that said, “Your novel would make good kindling.”
It was a shock to Robin when she realized he meant her novel would make good kindling to start a fire, not that the book is Kindle-worthy.
No need for lighter fluid!
Robin smashed the framed rejection letter when she realized he dissed her, not complimented her.
“One of the most common stylistic mistakes aspiring writers make is to rely too much on the verb “to be.” ~ EssayForum.com
When I read EssayForum.com’s page on avoiding the verb “to be,” I thought uh-oh. I dashed to my computer to do a quick search, and GUILTY AS CHARGED YOUR HONOR!
But how to fix this “common stylist mistake” was a puzzle. I couldn’t put my hands on concrete ways to avoid the verb “to be,” but found many sites and books with admonitions to keep away from the verb like it is an outbreak of e coli.
You will be getting some tips on the present tense of “to be” today, and the past tense form in the near future. I know you know this, but as a refresher on our new enemy “to be” in the present tense:
I am and I’m
He is and He’s
She is and She’s
It is and It’s
We are and We’re
They are and They’re
You are and You’re
I am making every effort to write well.
Good for you!
I make every effort to write just like Robin.
He feels Robin’s presence when he is writing.
Like a poltergeist?
Robin’s annoying voice rings in his head when he writes.
It is odd how often Robin edits her manuscript
Maybe the book is really bad.
Robin edits her manuscript freakishly often.
We are hoping Robin shares more tips on how to use strong vs. weak words.
Ask, and ye shall receive!
We hope Robin changes the theme of her posts to underwater basket weaving.
A daughter is visiting her father and they are making dinner together. She asks, “So Papa, how do you like the new iPad we gave you?”
The video is in German, but the daughter’s question is all you need to know. You will understand the rest.
This 30-second video is priceless. Click the link below to be directed to the video. I couldn’t embed it for some reason. Sorry, but it is worth the trip!
Carrie Rubin over at The Write Transition gave me the idea for this post. Her comment on my post about the word “didn’t” was (in part),
“I have a lot of “started to”s as well. “Her hands started to shake;” “he started to wonder;” that kind of thing. So I’m eliminating many of those, making it “Her hands shook,” etc.
An evil cousin of “started/ing to” is “began/beginning to.”
Let’s look at some examples:
I am starting to be a strong writer.
Robin’s wise advice guides me as I make my writing stronger.
I started writing every word Robin utters.
Why don’t you read her blog instead?
I write Robin’s advice in my journal and refer to the tips when I edit my manuscript.
I began to stalk Robin in the hopes she would follow my blog.
There are laws against that Mr. Creepo.
I stalked Robin until she feared for her safety and finally agreed to follow my blog.
Robin is beginning to think I am crazy.
Robin thinks I am crazy and she reported me the Grammar Police.
Thanks for idea Carrie!
Why tell your readers about something that “didn’t” happen? They want to know DID happen. It is a subtle difference, but it makes a difference,
Here are three examples:
My attempt at learning how to cook didn’t pan out.
Remind me to turn down your invitation to dinner.
My attempt at learning how to cook was disastrous.
They didn’t accept my invitations to dinner after that ill-fated night.
No small wonder.
They turned down every invitation to dinner after that ill-fated night.
I didn’t try my hand at cooking again.
From then on, I ate take-out Chinese or delivery pizza for dinner.
Of course “didn’t” has its place. You need to use didn’t at times. If you “don’t know” something, you just don’t know it. Saying anything else would sound convoluted.
BUT, while editing my manuscript, when I read the word “didn’t,” I asked myself “Well, what “did” happen?”
Four examples of asking yourself, “What DID happen?”
I didn’t land the job.
They gave the job to a bloke named Paul McCartney.
I didn’t hear the on-coming train.
What did you hear?
“Hey Jude” turned up full-blast on my car radio drowned out the roar of the on-coming train.
I didn’t get Paul McCartney’s autograph.
Paul refused to come out of his dressing room even though I politely pummeled the door with my fists.
Paul didn’t say anything while I scolded him.
Did he call his bodyguard?
Paul scanned the room for an escape route while I scolded him.
See what I mean?
Sir Paul McCartney turns 70 today.
I had the honor of seeing Sir Paul in concert three times. What a show. Oh, and you know what? The stage went dark except for a spotlight on Paul and his guitar, and when he sang “Yesterday,” he sang directly to me. He acted like I was the only adoring fan in the gigantic arena. Wasn’t that nice of him?
Hard to believe this young lad is now 70.
As a tribute to my buddy Paul, watch this delightful video of juggler Chris Bliss performing to “Golden Slumbers.” Amazing juggling. The balls dance in time to the music. Chris’ finale is NOT TO BE MISSED!
These puns made the email rounds a while ago, but since I forgot to buy a Father’s Day present for you, I am re-gifting. Be prepared to groan.
Happy Father’s Day! Give your dad a hug from me.
Puns for Educated Minds
1. The fattest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.
4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.
5. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.
6. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
7. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
8. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
9. A hole was found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
11. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
12. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, “You stay here; I’ll go on a head.”
13. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
14. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said, “Keep off the Grass.”
15. The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
16. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
17. A backward poet writes inverse.
18. In a democracy it’s your vote that counts. In feudalism it’s your count that votes.
19. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
20. If you jumped off the bridge in Paris , you’d be in Seine .
21. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looked at him and said, “I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.”
22. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turned to the other and said “Dam!”
23. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.
24. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One said, “I’ve lost my electron.”
The other said, “Are you sure?” The first replies, “Yes, I’m positive.”
25. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.
26. There was the person who sent ten puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did . . .
27. Gandhi walked barefoot, and he fasted a lot which leads toill health and bad breath – Gandhi was a super calloused fragile mystic hexed with halitosis. ~ Credit to Lynne Ayers.
On a serious note, Happy Father’s day to the best father on the planet. I love you honey!
Harry Nilsson wrote this delightful tribute to his “Good Old Desk“ in 1968. I hum his song when I greet my good old desk every morning. You will be tapping your toe and smiling while you listen. Oh, there aren’t images to go along with the music so minimize your screen and enjoy while you sit at your good old desk.
If you aren’t familiar with Harry’s name, I’m sure you know his other songs, like “Me and My Arrow” from The Point!, and “Everybody’s Talking” from Midnight Cowboy.” For you baby-boomers out there (like me), he also wrote The Monkees‘ hit “Cuddly Toy.” His catalog of hits is long.
My plan was to simply put up Harry’s song as a tribute to desks, but since I am a fan, I thought I should read up on him a bit. There are so many things I didn’t know and I had to share.
According to the Harry Nilsson Web Pages, “On the TV show “Playboy After Dark” a straight-faced Harry Nilsson told Hugh Hefner that the meaning of the song “Good Old Desk“ was in its initials – “GOD.” Years later Nilsson admitted, “I bullshitted him. I thought it was funny.”
Mr. Wiki P. Dia tells me Nilsson’s career was one of the few major pop-rock recording artists of his era to achieve commercial success without performing major public concerts.
Old Wiki continues with, “When John Lennon and Paul McCartney held a press conference in 1968 to announce the formation of Apple Corps, John was asked to name his favorite American artist. He replied, “Nilsson.” Paul was then asked to name his favorite American group. He replied, “Nilsson.”"
Whoa. That is the kind of endorsement any person on the planet would die for.
Nilsson and John Lennon rekindled their friendship in l973 after John’s separation from Yoko Ono. Lennon wanted to produce Nilsson’s next album. However, their time together was devoted to drug use, rather than musical collaboration. They were ejected from the Troubadour nightclub in West Hollywood for heckling the Smothers Brothers. (The Smothers Brothers? What’s to heckle about the Smothers Brothers? Please.)
Ex-Mamas and Papas singer Cass Elliot stayed at Nilsson’s London’s flat when she did a solo gig at the London Palladium. Following a performance, Elliot returned to the flat and died of heart failure in one of the bedrooms at the age of 32, in 1974. (I thought she choked on food.)
In 1978, The Who‘s drummer Keith Moon returned to the same room in Nilsson’s flat after a night out, and died at age 32 from an overdose of a prescription drug. (Yeah, right. “Prescription.”) Nilsson sold the flat to Moon’s bandmate Pete Townshend.
I was sad to learn from my research that Harry died in l994 of heart failure. He was 53-years-old. He abused his body, but nonetheless, he was gone too soon.
So without further ado, I give you “My Good Old Desk” with John, Paul, Mama Cass, et al’s blessing.
WARNING: The song will be stuck in your head all day.
Are you a list maker? I am. My lists have lists. If I don’t write something down, it will never happen because the task goes poof from my brain if not committed to paper.
However, this post is about a different kind of list-making.
Remember the “Rule of Three.” We have the:
- Three Musketeers
- Three Little Pigs
- Tic Tac Toe
- Two’s company, three’s a crowd (Oops, bad example. Sorry.)
Take a look at this sentence:
I packed my pink sundress, yellow shoes, green handbag, peach nightie, white tube socks, red shorts, blue thong, (I mean thongs, as in flip flops), a bottle of sunscreen, and I was set for my trip to Aruba!
Aside from envy over someone packing for Aruba, didn’t she lose you after you heard she packed her nightie? (Ok, maybe the men were still interested.)
The “Rule of Three” is powerful. List more than three, your readers will wander off to the fridge for a cold drink.
Let’s take the sentence above and clean it up.
Aruba is a tropical paradise where men like to prowl the beach, so I simply threw sunscreen, my g-string bathing suit, and a sexy nightie into my suitcase.
Ok! I have your attention now!
Limit your lists to three items. If you love items four, five, and six, put them in another sentence and mix up the “list-y-ness.”.
For example, you could follow up “the hot, hot,” hot sentence above with:
Since my mother was coming along on the trip, I also packed a cardigan, sensible shoes, and a plastic rain bonnet. Otherwise, she would scold me for not thinking ahead. Damn her. The customs guy will think he is searching the suitcase of an 82-year-old woman.
Finding your lists in your writing is tricky if you don’t use the Oxford comma. (I’m a fan.) If you are a Oxford comma user, search for your lists by putting “and, ” (AND-COMMA-SPACE) in the search window.
Being an organized person, I have a number of to-do lists floating around my life. One by one, I draw a line through each task as its completed - I love the feeling of marking something off the list! While I love the idea of tracking all the "do's" in my life, I was recently reminded that the "don'ts" are just as important.
I found this over at Mark. Mark is the nice young man (I have no idea how old he is) from Askimet who helped me solve my I AM NOT SPAM, I PROMISE issue. I followed his blog after he helped me with my spam problem and I am happy I did. His one-image posts are always funny or thought-provoking, or both.
This one spoke to me because my motto is, “Do the thing you are dreading most (avoiding, putting off, loath to do, would rather poke your eye out with a sharp stick than do) on your to-do list, and do it first.”
There is a section of my novel I am avoiding. Thanks Mark for the nudge.
As promised, today I am announcing the winner of my “Name that Restaurant” contest. If you missed the post about the contest, click here. The lucky winner gets a copy of John R. Trimble’s book Writing with Style: Conversations on the Art of Writing.
Wow. I came to the right group of people when I asked for help naming the restaurant in my novel. The entries were fantastic and I am now forced to weave in 36 more restaurants in the story so I can use all the names!
And the winner is . . . “Reverie” submitted by Jodie at One Writing Life. Congratulations!
Isn’t the restaurant name lovely? Jodie didn’t know this when she submitted Reverie, but here is a passage about my main character in my book:
“I grew from maestro at opening a tin of tuna for dinner to someone who derives tremendous pleasure from cooking. I even daydream about food when I am at work.”
So Jodie, here is my email address: email@example.com. Send me your address and I will ship a copy of Writing with Style to you.
The second part of this post is to acknowledge three blogging awards I received recently. The awards are Kreativ Blogger from The Wanderlust Gene, Reader Appreciation from J. Keller Ford, and Tag! You’re It!” (more of a game than an award) from Fly Away Home Book. Thank you ladies!
Here I go again, but I am breaking the acceptance rules ~ except for making my nominations for the awards. As my thanks for playing the “Name that Restaurant” contest, all of the contestants are my nominees! Below are the links to their blog, along with the names they suggested. To celebrate, I say we all meet at Reverie for a drink and a bite to eatl.
This a talented bunch. Please check out their blogs; you won’t be disappointed!
One Writing Life ~ Reverie
Laura Stanfill ~ Cherie, The Snuggery, The Snug Eatery, Adam’s Corner, The Cozy Fox, Rustic, Rustica
4 am Writer ~ The Chef’s Table
Polly Robinson ~ LHAT (The acronym for “Life Happens Around the Table,” a sign over the restaurant’s fireplace.)
Vanessa Chapman ~ La Nappe Blanche (The White Tablecloth)
Ella Dee ~ Adamantine
Freelance Writer and Author ~ Interdit Desirs (French) or in English, Forbidden Desires
The Wanderlust Gene ~ Adam’s Table, Adam’s Kitchen, Round the Table
JM McDowell ~ Temptations
Richard Coyle ~ Bistro Richard (Ha ha, very funny honey. Just because your are my husband, it doesn’t mean I am naming Adam’s restaurant after you.)
The View Outside ~ The Fishbowl, The Alchemist, Enchanted, Valentines, Ravenous, Eve’s, Wicked
Zen Scribbles ~ Le Fruits du Paradis, Sinful Fruits
Legion Writer ~ Baby Lucy’s Bistro
Fly Away Home Book ~ Adam’s Place
Just Words ~ Felicia’s (or Alma’s) Tabella (She tells me the name Felicia in Italian means happy and Alma means giving nature.), Adam’s Tabella, Adam’s Basket
The Write Transition ~ Pain du Paradis
John the Aussie ~ Magirepse Me Tin Kardia Sou which is Greek for Cook with Your Heart.
“I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent.” ~ Horton Hears a Who, Dr. Seuss
Or like your mom told you, “say what you mean and mean what you say.”
I ran errands this morning and since it was bumping into lunchtime, I was hungry and could feel a headache coming on. With more stops to make, I decided to pop into the dive Mexican restaurant (I had a taco ~ delicious by the way) next door to the post office.
The sign below was in the ladies’ restroom and it cracked me up. What do they mean “any kind of paper?” No toilet paper? No seat covers? No Kleenex? What’s a girl to do? Throw it away in the garbage? If so, I feel bad for whoever’s job it is to empty trash.
They should say what they mean. The garbage guy would be grateful.
Thanks to Jennifer Eaton’s blog, I discovered the most vile word in the English language. In my comment on her post, I said, “I hate you, in the nicest possible way,” for pointing out the word.
You thought you hated me before, but wait until you get a load of this.
How could a two-letter word destroy a writer in one afternoon? Here’s how. I found 539 of the cheeky buggers in my manuscript. 539!!! I kid you not. So far, I edited out 64 of the offending words and I’m only on page 52. The result? The writing is stronger.
I know you are all dancing on your toes and asking, “What is it? What is it?”
You answered the question yourself. The bloody word it “IT.”
How could “IT” be so bad? Let me explain. When we reference something in our writing, say a purse, we are loath to use the word again in the same sentence, or one following closely behind. For example:
I put my purse on my shoulder and IT made my neck hurt.
We avoid writing the word purse twice so we use the word “it.” But the “it” can be referred to in other ways.
When I put my heavy purse on my shoulder, the strap dug into my neck.”
I put my purse on my shoulder and the weight sent a sharp pang up my neck.
When I walked out of the pub, the weight of my purse caused me to hold my neck at a weird angle. My husband said I looked tipsy.
Get “it?” I mean ~ Do you understand what I mean? When you read the word “IT,” ask yourself, “What is the “IT?”
Here is an example from my manuscript:
The funeral ended with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” To this day, the song gives me chills. If you listen intently to the words you will know what I mean. IT is sad and soothing at the same time.
The funeral ended with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” To this day, the song gives me chills. If you listen intently to the words you will know what I mean. The lyrics are sad, but soothing.
Of course you can’t, nor shouldn’t, get rid of every “it.” It serves a purpose. And, you don’t want to go overboard and sound silly:
I put my purse on my shoulder. I carry my wallet and lipstick in a device with a history dates back to biblical times.
When you do “Seek and Destroy” to look for “it,” don’t forget that “it” can hide as “it,” it.” and “it’s”
For advice on other words that sneak into your writing, clink on the links below:
▪ Sneaky Little Words for the word GOT
▪ Strong vs Weak Words for the word WENT
▪ Strong vs Weak Words – Part 2 for the word PEOPLE
▪ Strong vs Weak Words – Part 3 for the words THING and STUFF
▪ Strong vs Weak Words – Part 4 for the words GO and GOING
▪ Strong vs Weak Words – Part 5 for the words ALWAYS and NEVER
▪ Strong vs Weak Words – Part 6 for the words PRETTY, SURE, and CERTAIN
▪ Strong vs Weak Words – Part 7 for the word HAD and HAVE
▪ Strong vs Weak Words – Part 8 for the word JUST
▪ Strong vs Weak Words – Part 9 for the word ALL
▪ Strong vs Weak Words – Part 10 for INDEFINITE NUMBERS
▪ Strong vs Weak Words – Part 11 for the word USE
- Strong vs Weak Words – Part 12 for the word CAN
An airline loves my blog. I am so honored. They faithfully follow and comment on every post. And their comments are thought-provoking. For example, here is one on my post titled “Heady Blog Milestones.”
“Well I truly enjoyed studying it. This subject procured by you is very effective for good planning.”
I spent hours “studying” my post to figure out what subject I “procured” and how my blog milestones were “effective for planning.” Am I more wise than I think?
Do they love your blog too? Such devoted readers they are.
Whaddaya mean it is SPAM? You mean I wasted hours replying to each comment and then following their blog?
Kidding. I know it is spam. But what is up with the sudden onslaught of spam?
The airline spam is such a problem, poor American Airlines had to put a page on their website about the bastards (my words, not theirs).
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, “The airline warned anyone who gets the bogus emails not to click on any links, open any attachments or call the listed phone numbers. Instead, the airline asks recipients to forward the emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are aware of the scam,” spokesman Ed Martelle said. “It is being investigated by our corporate security department so we can find a way to shut it down.”
Let’s hope they shut the spam down soon. I was so paranoid about the problem I didn’t put the name of the spammy airline in this post.
Time to pause in the Strong vs Weak Word series for a laugh. Together we learned how to avoid unneeded words and replace anemic words with robust verbs and nouns.
The comments on this series are funny. For example, on the post about coming up with something better than the word “can,” Commander replied, “Can do, ma’am . . . oops . . . I mean, consider it done! Ahh. That feels better already.”
We are talking to code to each other and sprinkle in the offending word in every comment and reply. You guys are so smart.
Today’s post is a challenge. I’ve written 14 posts on this topic with 18-ish words to avoid. I tossed them in a hat and pulled out nine.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take the following list of overused or weak words and write one or two sentences, or a paragraph if so moved, using all nine words. Then, write an edited version of the same sentence and post them here in the comments.
Here is my stab at it.
I WENT A FEW times to GO put ALL my PRETTY disgusting THINGS QUICKLY into the garbage.
It took five trips, but I threw every pair of my disgusting socks in the garbage.
Here is a refresher on what we’ve covered so far.
WENT, as in, “I WENT to the store in my car.” How about you drove to the store instead.
GO or GOING, as in, “Let’s GO to London by boat.” Why don’t you sail to London?
ALL, as in, “ALL the people adore Robin’s blog.” How about bloggers adore it instead?
STUFF, as in, “I put my STUFF in the car.” What stuff? Your ukulele and grass skirt?
ADVERBS, as in, “ I PASSIONATELY read every post on Robin’s blog.” How about “I hate Robin’s nagging blog with a passion.”
INDEFINITE NUMBERS, as in, “A COUPLE bloggers read Robin’s blog.” Be honest, she has two followers.
PRETTY, as in, “It is PRETTY fun to bash Robin’s blog posts.” Maybe it is a blast instead?
INTENSIFIERS, such as, “I am REALLY, VERY, SO hungry. Geez, you sound ravenous. Why not say it.
THINGS, as in, “The THINGS he did bugged me.” What things? The way he flossed his teeth at the dinner table?
Are you game for this challenge? Bring it on!
If you need to catch up on what I am talking about click here.
P.S. If this challenge evokes any interest, I’ll do a second round with the remaining nine. Also, depending on the response, I may do a post where you can vote on the best, or in this case, worst entry. Prize to be determined.
I can do the Can-Can, can you do the Can-Can . . .
“Can” is another one of those words that creeps its way into my writing when my back is turned. It is hard to type when one’s back is turned, but you know what I mean.
“Can” hides as “can’t” too, so be careful.
This time, instead of silly made-up sentences as examples, I give you sentences torn from my manuscript before I edited out the “can.”
I can express myself in every dish I create.
Can you really? Then why don’t you?
I express myself in every dish I create.
A delicious meal has magical powers that can make a bad day into a good one.
Ooh. What’s for dinner?
A delicious meal’s magical power transforms a bad day into a good one.
French women can throw on a simple black dress and string of pearls and look as though they are Coco Chanel’s best friend.
That is how I look too.
When I throw on a simple black dress and string of pearls, I look as though I am Coco Chanel’s best friend.
Mushrooms can give sauces an earthy flavor.
You do know what mushrooms are grown in, don’t you?
Mushrooms infuse sauces with an earthy flavor.
I can’t tell you the difference between portobello and a chanterelle mushrooms.
The difference between portobello and chanterelle mushrooms mystifies me.
A word of caution ~ Don’t be tempted to change “can” to the wordy “is able to,” “has the ability to,” or “is capable of.”
Sometimes you don’t need the word “can” at all. Other times, the simple solution is to find a rigorous verb to put in its place.
For advice on other words that sneak into your writing, clink on the links below:
- I Have a Problem with “That”
- Sneaky Little Words for the word GOT
- Strong vs Weak Words for the word WENT
- Strong vs Weak Words – Part 2 for the word PEOPLE
- Strong vs Weak Words – Part 3 for the words THING and STUFF
- Strong vs Weak Words – Part 4 for the words GO and GOING
- Strong vs Weak Words – Part 5 for the words ALWAYS and NEVER
- Strong vs Weak Words – Part 6 for the words PRETTY, SURE, and CERTAIN
- Strong vs Weak Words – Part 7 for the word HAD and HAVE
- Strong vs Weak Words – Part 8 for the word JUST
- Strong vs Weak Words – Part 9 for the word ALL
- Strong vs Weak Words – Part 10 for INDEFINITE NUMBERS
- Strong vs Weak Words – Part 11 for the word USE
- Moldy Verbs, Adverbs, and Intensifiers
Want to win a copy of John R. Trimble’s book Writing with Style: Conversations of the Art of Writing ?
Professor Trimble’s book is a gem. It was the first writing/editing how-to book I read and it changed my writing life. Many of the tips I’ve shared with you in the series Strong vs Weak Words are tidbits I gleaned from this slim tome.
Reading Writing with Style is like having a conversation about writing with your favorite college professor over a beer. He is funny (learning how to write with style can be funny?), to the point, and smart. Think Strunk and White with a sense of humor.
So how can you win this treasure? You can help me.
The main character in my novel, In Search of Beef Stroganoff, falls in love with a chef who owns an intimate restaurant. The problem is the restaurant doesn’t have a name. Here is a snippet from manuscript to give you a feel for the restaurant:
“The fire crackled and candlelight bathed the tables cloaked in white. “Life Happens Around the Table” was spelled out over the mantel in an eclectic collection of letters from old storefronts. Tantalizing choices on the menu made deciding what to order a chore and a note on the menu said, “Our food is organic, sustainable, and locally grown.” Stroganoff wasn’t offered, so I opted for the veal.
One bite of the bread from the breadbasket made me swoon. It took herculean willpower to not consume the entire contents of the breadbasket while I waited for my meal. It was an exercise in restraint. Like the bread in Paris, it was crusty on the outside and a dream on the inside. If the bread was that good, I knew the meal would be spectacular. I didn’t want to fill up, but was tempted to dump the remaining bread into my purse.”
Submit your restaurant name ideas and a panel of judges (well, me) will select the winning submission. I will announce the winner on June 13th. If you win, you will be the proud owner of Writing with Style. You will also thank me for sharing Professor Trimble’s wisdom with you.
Good luck! I can’t wait to see what you come up with.