Cracking OPEN General Words Word Choice Mini-Lesson Specific Nouns and Verbs
Vague Writing • Vague writing is filled with generalities. • “We were goofing around with my dad’s stuff.” • Sharp Writing contains specific nouns and specific verbs. • “My cousin and I were sword-fighting with Dad’s hacksaws.”
General Words • Consider the following words: good, nice, things, stuff, fun. • These words are general words. They have a place in writing BUT they DO NOT paint much of a picture. The reader cannot visualize what you are writing about which makes your story hard to follow. • Example: “My uncle is really fun.”
Cracking Open General Words • You can crack open a word fun by using a more specific words. • “I had a blast when my uncle took me to a deserted parking lot and let me drive his Jaguar convertible.” • This sentence creates an image you can see.
Practice Cracking Open General Words • In the following passage, you will find a number of vague, general words. • Read it over and circle the general words in the piece . • Change the general words to more specific word that create a picture in the readers mind.
Steps to Cracking Open General Words • Identify vague or general NOUNS. A noun is a person place or thing. • Read the surrounding text. What is the vague noun referring to? • Take out the vague noun and replace it with a more descriptive version of the same person, place or thing.
You Try it with Your Own Writing • In your writing circles today, please go back through your last draft and circle the general words. • For the first five minutes of writing, work to change your general words with more specific words. • After five minutes has passed, begin writing on your next topic.