Episode 71: Daughter of the Flood: Magical Realism Critique

Episode Description

In this episode, Leslie and Clark critique the opening pages of Chrishaun Keller-Hanna's “Daughter of the Flood,” an as yet unpublished magical realism story. They discuss identifying characters, dialogue tags, setting, and strong verbs.


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Show Notes

Verbs bring action—motion and movement—to our sentences. Without verbs, nothing happens.

Verbs move story people, both literally and emotionally.

Without verbs, characters and story go nowhere. Without the right verbs at the right time, characters and story go to the wrong places or get there in the wrong way, lacking impact or being overwhelmed by unnecessary actions.
— Beth Hill

Editorial Mission: Strong Verbs

Poets don’t have the luxury of excess words to convey meaning, so prose writers can learn a lot from them about making every word count. This week, we've adapted the editorial mission from a technique used by poets (from James Tonn and Mollie Coles Tonn) to make their verbs strong. Take a five- to ten-page passage from your story and write down the verbs you use. Rate them with a one, two, or three.

·       Ones are the weakest verbs, often linking verbs: to be, to have, to feel, to seem, to become.

·       Twos are medium verbs like these (some of which can act like linking verbs): put, place, walk, move, head, grow, sound, remain, look, smell, taste, resemble—they are a notch above ones but don’t convey everything they could.

·       Threes are strong, specific verbs: punch, saunter, creep, grab, delegate, manipulate, negotiate.

Strive for as many threes as you can manage. Leave us a comment at the bottom of the show notes or drop us a line at writershippodcast@gmail.com to let us know how it goes.


Other items and resources

You can find Clark’s latest book, Hank Hudson and the Anubis, here.

Preorder “Daughter of the Flood” to continue reading the story.

Find out more about Allazar here.


Inline Critique

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