WT&TT: Stammer Verbs to Avoid (reblogged)

This is very useful. I’m verbose at the best of times, so one thing the editing process will do is examine the story for these sorts of things. Of course, I have to do a bit of editing-in of passages before I start taking stuff out….

Writing Tip Tuesday #30: Jessi Rita Hoffman

by Evolet


When you’re self-editing your work, there are plenty of posts out there that tell you what you should look at for and try to eliminate. [tag]Jessi Rita Hoffman[/tag]’s provides 2 Stammer Verbs to Avoid in Your Fiction.


The reader assumes, if a character is going to move from point A to point B in a scene, he or she will probably have to make a turning movement. That’s understood, so it need not be explained. Stating it merely slows down the action and spoils the vividness of the scene.

Before: The king placed the scroll back on the table. He turned and walked to the window.

After: The king placed the scroll back on the table. He shuffled to the window.


Like turned, it’s typically misused as a way of launching into description of an action:

Jill sat down with a thud. She began to untie her shoelaces.

There’s no reason to slow down the action with began.

Jill sat down with a thud. She untied her shoelaces.

Unless something is going to interrupt between the start and the completion of their action (taking off shoes), there is no reason to say began.

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