If you aren’t in love with the craft of writing, your readers won’t be in love with you.
In addition to the Nouns and Verbs exercise, here’s a word game I like to play to flex my writing muscles. The idea is to use every part of speech* in order to change the complexity of an idea.
First, I start with a noun and a verb:
Then, I build add an adjective:
“Blue snow fell.”
Woah. That’s weird. What’s happening here? I add an adverb to find out:
“Blue snow fell gently.”
Then, a prepositional phrase:
“Blue snow fell gently on the frozen dog.”
Uh oh. Is this going to get gross? Let’s throw in a conjunction:
“Blue snow fell gently but resolutely on the frozen dog.”
Then, a pronoun (which usually requires an extra verb):
“She watched the snow globe as blue snow fell gently but resolutely on the frozen dog.”
Did you see that? After starting with random words, you almost always end with a story.** It’s astonishing.
Language is a miracle. Little games like this can help explore its depth, as opposed to trodding over the same tired and boring cliches time and time again. The day you stop being impressed by the magic of writing is the day your readers lose interest too.
“No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the writer.”
*Yes, word nerds, I know this exercise excludes interjections.
**The first iteration of this included white snow, a dirt road, and no snow globe. I changed them to build extra intrigue, as any good writer’s wont.