Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Elaboration: Verbs and Details

Elaboration: VERBS and DETAILS




Once again, we focus on improving the story through elaboration.

How did I get from this:
1
I wrecked last night. I saw a hole in bike path ahead of me. held on to my handlebars.   I tried to turn away. I kept looking at the hole. It was big. I hit the brakes. I hit the hole. I wrecked. My wheel hit the hole and stuck there. But I didn’t stop.  I flew over the handlebars.

To this:
2
Last night, I rode my bike down the river bike path. I raced along the straight section by the ash tree. Up ahead, a hole the size of a bear broke the asphalt in the bike path. I gripped my handlebars to skirt the edge where the tree roots flattened. I just kept focusing, staring at the hole. At the last minute, I squeezed the brakes. I skidded towards the pit. Thump! My front wheel hit the hole and stuck there, a dead stop. But I didn’t stop.  My body flew over the handlebars like I toss my sister's stuffed elephant behind the couch. I imagine it splats on the carpet; I know I landed splat on my back. Ouch.

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Which one brings you into the story?  Why?

I think the verbs help: here's the difference -- strong verbs [or verb forms] in bold - so the old lady screams!:

1
I wrecked last night. I saw a hole in bike path ahead of me. held on to my handlebars.   I tried to turn away. I kept looking at the hole. It was big. I hit the brakes. I hit the hole. I wrecked. My wheel hit the hole and stuck there. But I didn’t stop.  I flew over the handlebars.

2
Last night, I rode my bike down the river bike path. I raced along the straight section by the ash tree. Up ahead, a hole the size of a bear broke the asphalt in the bike path. I gripped my handlebars to skirt the edge where the tree roots flattened. I just kept focusing, staring at the hole. At the last minute, I squeezed the brakes. I skidded towards the pit. Thump! My front wheel hit the hole and stuck there, a dead stop. But I didn’t stop.  My body flew over the handlebars like I toss my sister's stuffed elephant behind the couch. I imagine it splats on the carpet; I know I landed splat on my back. Ouch.

Yes, there's a lot more detail too in the second one to elaborate with who, what, where, how, why, etc. -- I'll underline the additional details or specific words [usually nouns] here:

1
wrecked last night. I saw a hole in bike path ahead of me. held on to my handlebars.   I tried to turn away. I kept looking at the hole. It was big. I hit the brakes. I hit the hole. I wrecked. My wheel hit the hole and stuck there. But I didn’t stop.  I flew over the handlebars.

2
Last night, I rode my bike down the river bike path.raced along the straight section by the ash tree. Up ahead, a hole the size of a bear broke the asphalt in the bike path. I gripped my handlebars to skirt the edge where the tree roots flattened. I just kept focusingstaring at the hole. At the last minute, I squeezed the brakes. I skidded towards the pit. Thump! My front wheel hit the hole and stuck there, a dead stop. But I didn’t stop.  My body flew over the handlebars like I toss my sister's stuffed elephant behind the couch. I imagine it splats on the carpet; I know I landed splat on my back. Ouch.

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Here's a video to show these revisions of strong verbs and details happened:




Remember! Every word is important -- your word choice in verbs and details makes your writing come alive for your reader.



Share one of your best revisions in the comments below -- a strong verb and a detail.