As I’ve relaunched this website, I realize it has two distinct goals: to share information about my fiction and to present my skills and experience as a consultant writing web and marketing copy for institutions and companies. Should this really be two websites, I wondered? Maybe three, since I also feature some of my journalism?
No, I decided. It’s all writing. I’ve devoted my career to writing, and the site is about all my writing. Though the intended audience, organizational logic, and voice differ wildly as I write in these different arenas, the fundamentals stay the same.
So here’s my main secret: Great writing stands on apt nouns and verbs. Subject –> verb –> object. That’s it. Choosing which noun or verb is the writer’s primary art.
Adverbs modify verbs, and using one usually means you could choose a better verb. Adjectives modify nouns and usually mean you could’ve chosen a better noun. You do use adjectives and adverbs — but only after you’ve first tried to pick a noun or verb that can stand alone.
When you discipline yourself to seek nouns and verbs, you begin to write elegant, concise, direct sentences. And pulling a noun or verb from one aspect of life into a sentence about another enriches your writing with connotations from the source of the word. You introduce literary devices into your sentences.
From a crime short story I just entered in a contest. You may or may not agree they’re good, but you can see how I worked to find the noun or verb for the job:Share on Facebook