Saturday, March 7, 2015

How do you Walk?

I just read a really cute book. It was about a guy who can't have kids so his wife divorces him. He's going through a bad patch, struggling with depression and lack of motivation. A bad day can't get any worse when he gets a flat tire. And then a space craft crashes nearby. Well of course he and the tow truck driver simply have to explore, and the open door is so inviting. I mean, it was a crash; someone might be hurt. Deep inside they come face to face with gun-toting green folks and of curse the logical thing to do is pick up the closest thing that looks like a weapon and arm yourself. Um yeah, it didn't work out that way. Turns out this 'weapon' was a pregnancy inducer and it was pointing backwards, and yeah, it goes off. Now we have two guys who are pregnant with alien babies. Not written as a comedy, it was nonetheless very entertaining as this poor guy struggles with all the things us women go through - morning sickness, cravings, being unable to reach things on the floor, and emotional swings, among other things.

The biggest drawback about this book, little that it was, was the inexperience of the writer. Don't get me wrong, I loved the story. I recommend you read it, but the reason for this post is because many times other words for movement could have been used to improve the story.

I googled for a list of words one might use instead of walk and found this. Each word elicits a picture or an emotion, and it is key to your efforts to show rather than tell. Anyone can walk from point A to point B, but the word conveys just that - any-old-one. It says absolutely nothing about your character. Let's think about a few of those words and see what they say:

Amble: Who would you picture ambling? What does this stride say? I picture a cowboy as he makes his way across the corral. Such a stride would keep the contents of that corral calm because it is a smooth stride.

Hobble: This might indicate someone who is or has been injured. It might also indicate age as in very old. Think about it; if you saw someone hobbling along in front of you, what's the first thing you would think of that person. Environment would have a deciding factor in your judgement but found on Anystreet USA, you'd likely think old.

Mosey: This might, if you're paranoid enough, make you think of someone up to no good.

The word used frequently in the above mentioned book is:

Wander: To wander is to be aimless in your direction and intention.  It might also indicate a head injury, or disability such as severely retarded.

These are only a few of those words so you should go there and maybe copy the list. It's important that you use the word that best conveys the attitude of the person you're writing about. Think about it. how many soldiers do you think wander around the battlefield? How many little girls walk down the hall? You get the idea. Now run with it.


1 comment:

William Kendall said...

I'm reminded of the Tolkien quote: not all who wander are lost.

It sounds like the book could have used some serious edits.