I attended a workshop this weekend sponsored by the Kansas SCBWI. The “Four Alarm Novels” by Lisa Harkrader who is the author of seventeen books for children. Her most recent novel Airball: My Life in Briefs recently received the William Allen White Award. I learned so much listening to Lisa and being able to ask questions is the best part of a workshop.
A few great tips I learned were:
- Write With Verbs
- Use Strong Straight Forward Verbs
- Get To The Point And Paint A Picture
Writing With Verbs
When you are writing using verbs helps you to keep from writing so much description in getting your point across to the reader. Verbs can represent an action with out wasting words on long paragraphs of what the character is doing. For example:
- The covers on the bed looked as though they had been thrown there.
- The covers laid crumpled on the bed.
Use Strong Straight Forward Verbs
In order to keep your sentences tight and the action vivid make sure you are using strong straight forward verbs. You will want your reader to get an exact mental picture of what’s happening very quickly. For example:
- Jack walked into the room as if he were an old man with a cane.
- Jack shuffled into the room.
Get To The Point And Paint A Picture
If you are putting a specific scene in your novel, be careful again using lots of words. Get to the point when you are painting a picture. For example:
- Lila walked slowly in the heat. Her mouth was dry like the desert in the middle of summer and sweat dripped from her as if she had just been sprayed with a sprinkler.
- Lila meandered in the heat. She was parched and drenched with sweat.
I hope you find these tips useful as you begin the journey of writing a novel. Happy writing!