I used to think the only way to describe something was to use adverbs and a lot of descriptive words. Consequently I was really wordy. People could’ve described me (and often did) as full of hot air.
I tried to stay away from clichés and common phrases/sayings but I was drawn to them like a moth to a flame.
Have I realized the error of my ways and changed my word habits? Yes and no. I have to pay close attention to my adverb-usage but they slip through the cracks now and then.
My biggest problem, however, is my use of common verbs.
For example: said, look, smile, sit, breathe, etc.
When I go back to edit, I always find these kinds of words. It’s true, sometimes “said” or “breathe” says it all because to use more words or different words would be too much for your reader. Everyone needs variation after all, but to use them like a crutch doesn’t work either.
I ask myself, “How can I say this without using a bunch of adverbs or by using multiple sentences to describe it?” Bearing this question in mind, I’ve scoured both my printed thesaurus and my computer thesaurus and have come up with a list of synonyms for the word “said.” A million words later, I decided to stop at 50. You’d be surprised at how many ways you can describe someone speaking.
What other words can you think of to replace the word ‘said’?