Writing Lively Copy

Thursday, October 02, 2008
by LuAnn Schindler

Want to turn a bland piece of prose into a piece that's filled with life? Substituting similes and metaphors for adjectives, replacing generic nouns with specifics, and varying sentence length will result in lively writing. Try this exercise to spice up your words.

Write a long paragraph about eating a favorite piece of fruit, using all five senses. Make sure you write a simile and a metaphor in the paragraph. Just for review, a simile compares two objects and uses 'like' or 'as' to make the comparison. Example: "The blackberries in the bowl were lumpy, like dirt clods on a dusty road." Metaphors directly compare one item to another. Example: "The clumps were soft and squishy, melting into sweetness in my mouth."

After you've finished writing the paragraph, review what you've written. Replace generic nouns with a specific noun. Instead of writing 'a conglomeration of berries', be specific. Red raspberries, blueberries, and gooseberries. When you use a specific noun, it is easier for the reader to visualize what you mean. The generic word or phrase leaves a lot to the reader's imagination, which can sometimes lead them in a different direction.

Review your work once again and consider sentence structure. Are all sentences one length? Do you always start with a phrase? Adjust and vary the length of your sentences, because variety helps keep the reader engaged.

Not only is this exercise good for developing lively copy, but it is also an effective revision tool.


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