“There was a girl who came to me with her first screenplay. It was a good first shot. I gave her some advice. I told her, ‘I want you to go home and take a yellow Marks-A-Lot and highlight every verb in this 120-page screenplay, and then I want you to read them out loud and ask yourself, Can I find a stronger verb.’”
Movies are primarily a visual medium — and strong verbs convey more action and flavor than weak verbs.
Here are two verbs a screenwriter should never use: walk and look.
Instead of “He walks into the room,” choose one from this list:
stumbles, staggers, shoulders, ambles, meanders, shuffles, bounds, careens, trips, plunges, dives, blasts, thunders, tiptoes, inches, edges
Instead of “He looks at her,” why not one of these:
ogles, glares, stares, gapes, squints, locks on, fixes on, gawks, leers, peers, gazes, eyes, focuses on, scowls, glowers
The second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary contains 171,476 words, thousands of them great verbs. Use them in your screenplay to enhance its visuality.
This has been another edition of Dumb Little Writing Tricks That Work.