Thursday Writing Prompt No. 100


It’s here! Welcome to the one-hundredth Thursday Writing Prompt! Today’s prompt is about those words we love to hate: adjectives. Hang around any writer’s group long enough and you’ll hear people tell you not to use adjectives. But it makes no sense to throw perfectly good words away.

The problem isn’t adjectives themselves, but that the more common ones (which tend to end in -ly) can make your writing weak. A sentence like “The sweater was ugly” tells us what the viewer thought about the sweater but it doesn’t describe the sweater well enough that you can picture it in your mind’s eye. That might be fine if the sweater is not an important part of your story, but if you want it to make more of an impression on the reader then something like “The white sweater was stained brown along the cuffs with a a sticky goo” would be more powerful.

But take a look: I’ve just replaced the adjective “ugly” with more adjectives, so I haven’t done away with them at all. “White,” “brown,” and “sticky” are all adjectives (color words can be nouns or adjectives). What I have done is replace an overused adjective with stronger ones that are more descriptive. Your task this week is to take something you’ve written and scour it for weak adjectives and rewrite your sentences with stronger ones. Your writing will be better and your readers will “see” what you want them to see. Enjoy!