Today in class, I repeat my new writing slogan: Don’t Waste One Word.
As we finish all the lessons in How to Write with Flair, students know that every single word matters. Each word creates a precise mood and image.
Don’t waste one word. Don’t settle for a weak or imprecise word when you can select a vivid and deliciously specific one.
We juice the sentence down to its best parts. We invite the sentence to do what we know it was meant to do.
I ask students to transform the weak verb into an image and mood-producing verb, and they proceed with flair. Instead of:
The leaves are on the ground.
The leaves garnish the ground. They dance on the ground. They obscure the ground. They even grapple with the ground. And of course, they blanket the ground.
I actually perceive things differently when I don’t waste the verb. This isn’t just writing we’re talking about; it’s living. I want vivid and deliciously specific, right this very moment.
The words–when I don’t waste them–change everything.
How’s your writing life going?