Verb Collection

If you’re like me when you’re revising, you’re finding some really lame versions of constantly using weak verbs. Probably a lot of walking, looking or staring.

I have my beloved The Synonym Finder by J.I. Rodale but I’m finding that collecting verbs from novels put the word in context. You can see how the author is using the verb for effect and then you can take that same verb and use it in your own unique way.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately and I’m loving the verbs I’ve been adding to my collection. Using a strong verb makes your character come alive on the page. Less passive and more active.

Do you have any word special word collections? What’s your process of revising for stronger verbs?


  1. says

    This is a great idea! It’s important to use strong, active verbs. It helps pull the reader into the story because the characters are far more interesting.

    In my ideas notebook I keep a list of words that struck me in some way. They’re words I like the sound of or its definition and will want to write a story about or use as a title.

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

    • says

      I know you are a collector of words. I also keep a list of interesting words but I fell off so maybe I’ll start off again. But collecting these verb and the sentence it comes from has been helping me revise for sure.

      I’m starting to keep an idea book for next novel project. The idea process is the most fun part for me.

    • says

      I just keep in them all in a WORD document. Most of the novels I’ve been reading lately are on my Kindle, so that handy highlighter tool makes it easier too. :)

  2. says

    I like to do a search to see how often I use certain verbs, then pull out my handy thesaurus. I’ve started to use different verbs for different characters, it helps me ensure they have different traits and habits.

  3. says

    I’m especially aware of how weak my verbs are in picture book manuscripts. It’s weirdly fun to sit there with a thesaurus, searching for just the right verb for the story. Btw, I originally wrote “looking for just the right verb” but then realized that “searching” was stronger. :-)

  4. says

    Strong verbs make such a difference. I tend to flush out the weakest verbs in my writing when I read a manuscript out loud. I also find over-used words and other writing demons. There is always something that requires the red pen. : )

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