Empower Your Writing: Tip #7

Empower your sentences by starting them with an action word.

Since the first few lines of writing is where your potential agent or publisher forms an opinion on the book you’ve submitted, you want them to read compellingly. Try using an action verb to open instead of positioning it somewhere in neutral. You will be amazed at how much energy it infuses into that all-important beginning.

A sentence beginning with a pronoun may read like this: “He stormed out the front door, dragging a large piece of luggage behind him, and ambled over to his van.” Substituting an action verb makes it read like this: “Storming out the front door dragging a large piece of luggage behind him, he ambled over to his van.”  It’s subtle, of course, but with the action verb at the beginning, the character and his intention are already in play. 

 Another example: “Mary awoke from a bad dream, sweating and shaking.” Shifting the verb to the beginning, it might read like this: “Sweating and shaking, Mary awoke from a bad dream.”

Third and last illustration: “The girl was running across the street when she slipped and fell.” Or: “Running across the street, the girl slipped and fell.”

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