ENG 102 | Poetry Project and Selections | Villanelle | Create 9-line Poem | Poetry Questions | Handouts
1. Limit or renew clichés
Clichés are trite and overused phrases but may be effective if you make them fresh.
You can purposely change the form of a cliche and so revive it.
Here's an example: “I knew what was pulling my mind’s coattails.” – Maya Angelou
2. Abstract to concrete
Identify abstract or general nouns and replace them with concrete or specific ones.
Aim to present words like love, pain, sadness, anger through the physical imagery of the five senses:
Sight, Sound, Smell, Touch, Taste (SSSTT).
3. Action verbs
Strong action verbs are more powerful than linking verbs in the passive voice. Active verbs and concrete nouns are more lively and persuasive and help concentrate the language. When possible limit the "-ing" form of verbs; this diminishes their power.
Cut, compress, and shorten. Use few words to say as much as possible. Cut or revise imprecise or indecisive language so what you say is pure and concentrated.
Dare to experiment. Play with the words. Risk-taking adds originality and spontaneity to your writing.