by Elizabeth English


By Elizabeth English

Writers should always try to avoid using the simple verb, “walk”, whenever possible! Why have your character just walk into a room, or across the road? It tells the reader almost nothing about the character’s current mood, personality, intent, feelings, or how he or she presents him- or herself, or how anyone might perceive or react to seeing the character. Here’s a chance to show the reader & the ultimate film-viewer more about the character, and to set up a sense of who this person is, and what to expect!

A character opens the door and walks in a room. Boring! Common! What if that character crawled in the window, instead? Or boogied in, maybe even stark naked? Or slinked in dressed in a bad-clown costume? A person in cowboy boots walks differently from a person in ballet slippers, or spike heels, or flip-flops, or is barefoot. Children, teenagers, men & women and seniors all move differently, too! Use everything you’ve got to tell the whole story!

A super-confident person may saunter or swagger or stroll across a room; a person with a lack of purpose may amblemoseyshuffle or shamble in; a shy person may hesitantly tip-toe in; an angry person may march or clomp across the room; a person with ill-intent may sneakstalk or stomp along the street, a sad or discouraged character may shuffle past, an older or wounded person may hobble, totter, limp or stumble, and so on. Use your options, and get out that Thesaurus to help characterize the actions and reactions in your story!  

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