There are a million different ways to say the same thing. This variation allows for great creativity and uniqueness in our story, not to mention the ability to build powerful visual pictures.
Yet, with all of that variation we still reach for the same familiar words and boring verbs. I’ve done that so often that I’m grateful for critique partners that challenge me.
How to Boost Your Writing Vocabulary Prowess: Tips From “The Three Little Pigs” Shakespeare:
1. Grow Your Vocabulary. The only way to truly boost your vocabulary in your writing is to have more of it. The more wide variations you have for verbs and nouns, the more vivid your writing will be.
2. Replace Tired and Passive Verbs with Power Verbs. Highlight all the verbs in your passage. If they are passive, aim to replace them with more active verbs. If they are overused, come up with replacement verbs, use the thesaurus if necessary.
3. Replace nondescript nouns with more specific nouns that give a clearer picture. This will enable you to use less words to say the same thing in a clearer manner. For example, instead of the platform at the front of the auditorium, you could say the stage. Much more precise.
4. Eliminate unnecessary words. Words such as ‘that’ are used, but often not needed. Take these words out. Also eliminate many of your adverbs, by their very nature they weaken your verb. Allow only one adjective per noun, or it dilutes the adjective’s power.
5. Add sensory and visual imagery words that paint a picture. These words create emotion and draw the reader into the story world.
6. Aim for clarity. Replace words that are tired, but not at the expense of clarity. Your reader must know the words and feel the flow of the story is natural.