Author Topic: GrandmaBirdie's Lists: Strong Verbs Cheat Sheet  (Read 13556 times)  

Offline GrandmaBirdie

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Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #50 on: January 16, 2017, 06:10:05 AM »
Why do your characters shrug?

Perhaps you use shrugs as action beats to differentiate between speakers in dialogue; or maybe you're on an early draft, and you write the first thing that comes to mind.

A shrug should be more than an action beat. People shrug for many reasons. If you can determine their motivation, you can substitute alternative body language.

Over 100 Ways to Say "Shrug."

Offline alawston

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #51 on: January 16, 2017, 06:32:38 AM »
They do shrug too much in my first drafts. By the time I get to the editing stage, I think they've all dislocated their shoulders and have to do a lot less shrugging.


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Offline Evenstar

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #52 on: January 16, 2017, 06:37:55 AM »
If they're not shrugging, they are sighing

Sigh...

They also have to get pretty creative with "clean" expletives in shock moments. They can only say "Oh my goodness!" or "For Goodness sake!" so many times

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #53 on: January 16, 2017, 06:39:32 AM »
They shrug, nod, shake their heads. I usually have a very animated crew. I still remember reading a book and the author threw in a line, "there was a lot of nodding going on", which in context was very humorous.

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #54 on: January 16, 2017, 06:41:09 AM »
If they're not shrugging, they are sighing

Sigh...

They also have to get pretty creative with "clean" expletives in shock moments. They can only say "Oh my goodness!" or "For Goodness sake!" so many times
In real life, my partner's strongest expletive is "Goodness!" :)

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Offline GrandmaBirdie

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #55 on: January 16, 2017, 07:22:16 AM »
If they're not shrugging, they are sighing

Sigh...

They also have to get pretty creative with "clean" expletives in shock moments. They can only say "Oh my goodness!" or "For Goodness sake!" so many times

Check out:

Over 300 Ways to Say "Sigh"

250+ Ways to Curse in Creative Writing


 :)

Offline GrandmaBirdie

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #56 on: January 16, 2017, 07:25:39 AM »
They shrug, nod, shake their heads. I usually have a very animated crew. I still remember reading a book and the author threw in a line, "there was a lot of nodding going on", which in context was very humorous.

Try Other Ways to Say "Nodded."

 ;)

Offline Christopher Bunn

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #57 on: January 16, 2017, 11:54:51 AM »
Shrug is one of those words that starts blurring in definition if you say it out loud a whole bunch of times. Shrug shrug shrug. It becomes some weird combination of shrub, drug, bug, slug, whatever. Or maybe it's just me.

Offline Lee Sutherland

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #58 on: January 16, 2017, 11:57:25 AM »
*shrugs*

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Offline SC

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #59 on: January 16, 2017, 12:18:06 PM »
They also have to get pretty creative with "clean" expletives in shock moments. They can only say "Oh my goodness!" or "For Goodness sake!" so many times

I like to say "blast" or "blast it". I picked it up from a quirky girl in high school. I also use "dang" and "dang it" a lot. I also use "oh my goodness". The benefit of using "clean" expletives is that you never have to watch your language around anyone.

What grates on me is when authors seem to think there's absolutely nothing between the kind of words that get movies an R rating and words like "fudge" and "poopy". Their characters either talk like sailors or preschoolers, no middle ground. If you're going to have your character's use swears and expletives, it's good to know a wide range of them.

Offline FelissaEly

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #60 on: January 16, 2017, 01:47:34 PM »
Try Other Ways to Say "Nodded."

 ;)

I love this, I'm sharing with my husband - his characters nod so much I feel like their heads are gonna fall off... lol ;)


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Offline Andrew Christie

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #61 on: January 16, 2017, 01:54:57 PM »
shrugging, nodding, sighing, looking into the distance - guilty

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Offline GrandmaBirdie

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #62 on: January 16, 2017, 01:58:53 PM »
I love this, I'm sharing with my husband - his characters nod so much I feel like their heads are gonna fall off... lol ;)

Heh heh. The old bobble-head characters, right?

I use Hermetic Word Frequency Counter to check my work and find my overused words/phrases. I'm always amazed at what I find.

Offline GrandmaBirdie

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #63 on: January 16, 2017, 02:00:39 PM »
shrugging, nodding, sighing, looking into the distance - guilty

I've created word lists for everything except looking into the distance. As soon as I finish this reply, I'll add it to my to-do file.

Offline kemobullock

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #64 on: January 16, 2017, 02:04:38 PM »
Oh yes. My characters do it all and frequently. Every time I type the word "look" or "looked" I die a little. As far as swearing goes, I'm a fan of "Geesh," and "Good Lord."

Offline GrandmaBirdie

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #65 on: January 16, 2017, 03:14:12 PM »
Oh yes. My characters do it all and frequently. Every time I type the word "look" or "looked" I die a little. As far as swearing goes, I'm a fan of "Geesh," and "Good Lord."

I've done look, but not looked into the distance.

125 Ways to Say "Look"

Offline Evenstar

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #66 on: January 16, 2017, 03:21:14 PM »
This thread is golden, I'm bookmarking it. Do you have one for "smiled"?

"Yes," he smiled.
"No", she grinned back at him.
His mouth quirked wider.

That's about where I run out.....

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #67 on: January 16, 2017, 03:40:27 PM »
Thanks Kathy! I'm forever a fan!

Offline GrandmaBirdie

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #68 on: January 16, 2017, 03:59:10 PM »
This thread is golden, I'm bookmarking it. Do you have one for "smiled"?

"Yes," he smiled.
"No", she grinned back at him.
His mouth quirked wider.

That's about where I run out.....

Sure do!

99 Ways to Say "Laughed" or "Smiled"

Offline GrandmaBirdie

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #69 on: January 16, 2017, 04:00:29 PM »
Thanks Kathy! I'm forever a fan!

Thanks, merci beaucoup, and danke.

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #70 on: January 16, 2017, 05:31:55 PM »
Sometimes I think my characters eyes are going to roll out the door and down the front steps.

Offline GrandmaBirdie

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #71 on: January 16, 2017, 06:07:02 PM »
Sometimes I think my characters eyes are going to roll out the door and down the front steps.

There's a cure for that.  8)

Other Ways to Say "Roll the Eyes"

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #72 on: January 16, 2017, 06:12:18 PM »
One of my characters raises his eye-brow often. I couldn't stop him doing it, so I made it part of his character and had the other characters give him crap about it.


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Offline GrandmaBirdie

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #73 on: January 16, 2017, 06:20:25 PM »
One of my characters raises his eye-brow often. I couldn't stop him doing it, so I made it part of his character and had the other characters give him crap about it.

Great idea. Take the eyebrows and make brow-lemonade out of them.

Offline Lora_Richardson

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Re: Do your characters shrug too often?
« Reply #74 on: January 16, 2017, 06:48:25 PM »
Yes, in my first drafts my characters are doing way too much sighing, nodding, smiling, grinning, and looking away.  I love these lists for alternatives!  Thanks.

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