Friday, April 13, 2012

Common Problems (Part 47 of 50)

Don't "give us a shrug" or "shoot a glance." Those are not only odd statements but also weak writing. I've seen these words with increasing frequency in novels. One writer uses a quirky phrase, another author copies it, and still others pick up the expression. Good writing carries a natural tone and if you make readers blink with an odd phrase, instead of admiring your creativity, they're apt to stop reading.

* She gave a gasp of pain is weaker than She gasped in pain.

* Totsie gave a sharp bark before she whined.

* Jean gave a small, impatient jerk of her head. (Just let her jerk her head.) 

Don't use weak verbs to replace stronger ones. 
Don't use odd statements that cause readers to blink.

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