I like the terms de-had’ing and de-was’ing

I’ve been so caught up in my writing goals, I completely forgot my Friday post. First things first. 🙂 I haven’t drawn a winner for the Kitty Thomas Interview. Give me until midnight tomorrow.

On to new things! A few days ago, I made the suggestion to a writer to consider de-had’ing and de-was’ing his work. I know, I know: screw the rules!

Here’s the thing, “was” and “had” are not bad words to be avoided at all costs. However, a work bombarded by them is a bit drab. In fact, it turns into a laundry lists of descriptions and actions. Take the following example:

Jack stacked the last box and leaned against the fork lift. He had a smile as I approached. He was dressed like any other worker. He had on loose blue jeans and a white tank top. He was gorgeous. His hair was black and curly, and his eyes dark brown. He was average height, five ten and slim.

Straightforward enough. We got his stats. Good enough, right? Well, if you say so. Try this one.

Jack stacked the last box and leaned his five ten frame against the fork lift. A slight smile played on his lips, as he hooked a thumb into his blue jeans, drawing my attention to narrow hips. He’d trimmed down since I’d last seen him. The heavy lifting had devoured the chubbiness from high school and left lean muscle in its place. The white wife beater, which stretched tight against his chest, begged to be replaced with a shirt more accommodating to his growing pecs (not really, but hey! work with me). He flicked his head, and dark curly bangs lifted out of his brown eyes before settling on his broad forehead. With his olive skin, he was well on his way to becoming a Greek god.

Maybe not the best writing, but pretend like it is. 🙂 Notice I didn’t remove every “had” or “was.” Like I said, they do have their place in writing. But by weaving the descriptions within activities, those words can be reduced while livening the writing a bit. Look here. 🙂 I found a picture for you. Wanna give it a try?

She looked at the ceiling as if in deep thought. She had on a black denim dress with ruffles at the hem. Her hair was dark blond.

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