Tuesday, April 1, 2014


I was given a writing exercise that involved counting the concrete and abstract nouns. The idea was that concrete nouns make more compelling writing. First, I discovered that I use abstract nouns more frequently than I’d suspected. Upon further analysis, I decided they made my passage stronger. Here are some of the abstract nouns I used and the reasons why I kept them. 

Everything: This word suffers from a lack of specificity, but my story is written for teens in (hopefully) the voice of a teen. High school students tend to think they are the center of their universe. When my character says, “Everything changed,” she means it. 

Energy: This is a concrete noun when it equals mass times the square of the speed of light, but is an abstract noun when referring to a person’s work ethic or personality. To me, the sentence, “Only Matt was immune to her energy,” communicates important ideas about two characters. 

Unease, Mystery & Magic: These abstract nouns are essential for the hook. I used them to stimulate curiosity in the reader. 

My conclusions are:
  1. Voice trumps all. 
  2. Be specific. 
  3. Use powerful words.  
  4. Don’t neglect the hook.

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