What is verbosity?
In the context of creative writing, the term „verbosity“ refers to the use of less varied and weak verbs in a text. Verbosity occurs when a writer repeatedly uses simple, general, or vague verbs instead of using vivid, precise, and expressive verbs.
Verbs are crucial for forming sentences and creating lively and powerful texts. Overuse of weak verbs can make a text seem boring, monotonous, and unappealing by not conveying clear ideas or emotions to the reader.
An example of verbosity would be the use of verbs such as „have,“ „be,“ or „make,“ which are often nonspecific and general. For example, a sentence such as „He had short brown hair“ could be replaced with „He absentmindedly went through his short brown hair“ or „His short brown hair looked like he had just gotten out of bed“ to add more life to the text.
Avoiding verbosity and using varied, precise, and expressive verbs can help make a text lively and interesting and stimulate the reader’s imagination. It is therefore an important skill for writers to be conscious of their verb choices and avoid verbosity in order to make their writing powerful and effective.
Tips to avoid verbosity
To avoid verbosity when describing people and create vivid, expressive descriptions, the following tips can help:
Use specific verbs: Instead of using general verbs like „to be“ or „to have,“ look for verbs that are specific to the actions, movements, or characteristics of the person being described. For example, instead of „She was nice,“ you might say „She smiled kindly“ or „She helped willingly.“
Use sensory perceptions: Describe people’s appearance not only visually, but also using other senses such as hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Use verbs that convey these sensory perceptions to create vivid descriptions. For example, you might say „He smelled like fresh coffee“ or „She laughed with an infectious melody in her voice.“
Use figurative language: use figurative language to describe people vividly. Use metaphorical verbs or similes to create striking images in the reader’s mind. For example, instead of „He ran fast,“ you might say „He sprinted like a cheetah.“
Show, don’t tell: Instead of simply telling how someone is, show through actions or dialogue how the person behaves or how he or she speaks. Use verbs to describe actions or gestures to express the person’s character. For example, you might say „She pranced around the room happily“ or „He waved his hands excitedly.“
Choose strong verbs: Use strong, powerful verbs that convey emotions and impressions. Avoid weak, worn-out verbs that have little meaning. For example, instead of „He walked,“ you might say „He strutted“ or „He sauntered.“
By using specific verbs, incorporating senses, using figurative language, working with visual impressions instead of narration, and choosing strong verbs, you can avoid verbosity when describing people and create vivid, expressive descriptions that immerse readers in your stories.