Growing as a writer generally encompasses two trends: learning to simplify and finding new ways to express yourself creatively. This blog post will focus on the latter skill. Let’s look at a few examples from articles I’ve published.
Generic sentence: The Fort Worth Opera Festival opened with a performance of Astor Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires for the second time.
Recast sentence: The Fort Worth Opera Festival kicked off last Friday with a ravishing performance of Astor Piazzolla’s operetta María de Buenos Aires, marking the second time the sultry and multifaceted work has met Fort Worth audiences.
The first sentence is fine enough, but it lacks energy. The recast sentence replaced “opens” with “kicked off” and added adjectives like ravishing and sultry.
Generic sentence: The set of FWO’s Maria is simple. Pieces of dirty metal separated the front of the stage from the background.
Recast sentence: The set of FWO’s María is drab. Vestiges of graffitied sheet metal partition the viewable stage from the blackness beyond.
Drab is a more interesting and less common word than “simple.” Vestiges evokes emotions better than “pieces” does. And “the blackness beyond” adds a feeling of ominous foreboding. (Makes it sound spooky.)
In general, look for more creative ways to express yourself without getting too “wordy.” I love the line in Of Mice and Men when a large waterfowl “labors into the air.” Steinbeck turns a common noun into a verb because it better served the function of conveying the great effort the bird put into flying.
And finally, read great writing and don’t be afraid to use the author’s creative word choices. Professional writers often freely borrow turns of phrases and other creative word choices.