Very, Very Good Writing?

anaphora sHere’s a little exercise to test your use of English. Then we’ll take it somewhere to prompt you into writing a nice new piece of prose or fiction (or even a poem, your choice).

How many ways are there to say ‘very’ – without using that word?

Start a list.

You shouldn’t say something is ‘very good’ if you can say instead it is ‘brilliant’ or ‘masterful’, ‘fantastic’ or ‘amazing’. Very cold? How about ‘freezing’, ‘icy’ or ‘perished’?

If you are going for the superlative (the best), ‘very’ really doesn’t do a good enough job. ‘Very big’ needs to be ‘enormous’, ‘gigantic’ or ‘huge’ for the right effect. ‘Very quiet’ says more if it becomes ‘silent’ or ‘hushed’. ‘Very beautiful’ has more impact as ‘gorgeous’, ‘stunning’ or  ‘exquisite’.

‘Enormous’, ‘vast’ or ‘huge’ are better choices than describing something as being ‘very big’.

You get the idea? Not very difficult is it? I mean, it isn’t tricky, awkward or impossible to come up with alternatives to ‘very difficult’, is it?

See how many alternatives you can come up with.

Then take your list of words and add them to the following ‘V’ words: Vengeance, Vinegar, Viper, Volume and Vanish.

What can you make from that word soup? You have the ingredients – create something delicious from the words on your page (or screen). If you are struggling, try taking every third word from the top of your list and adding it to every second word from the bottom.

Nonsense may materialise – but so may something that can be worked on for a new piece of written work. Very exciting!

We are drawing to a close on our tour of the alphabet for weekly writing prompts – only four more letters to go! Call back next week for another writing prompt/exercise, they are posted at 5pm (Dublin time) every Wednesday. If you want to know more about why I do this, click here.

Meanwhile, catch up on what I’ve been doing lately here and buy signed copies of my poetry books here.