EXERCISE Vocabulary: Word Choice

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by Minibit, Jun 1, 2014.

  1. Andy fell flat on his face
    Andy flailed his way to the ground
    Andy dropped like a sack of bricks
    Andy slumped to the floor

    All four simply say that Andy fell down, but the way we choose to describe it evokes a slightly different image each time. There are many different ways to convey the same action, it's important to choose one appropriate for the mood or image you are trying to convey. It should also fit the pacing of a scene. If a character the reader has bonded with gets shot, you don't want to say they "fell on their face", as this sounds comedic; in a sad situation, you want to avoid describing things in a way that could be seen as funny. Similarly, if you want the scene to read the way a slow-mo scene in a movie would look, then phrases like "hit the floor" are out, since "hit" tends to read with more action than "drop", "sink", "collapse", or simply "fall".

    In this exercise, you will describe the same action three times in three different ways

    A comedic way :jester:

    A sombre way :worried:

    An action-packed way :yikes:

    The action you are to describe is:

    A person turns around and leaves

    helpful spoiler box: some phrases you could use:
    Show Spoiler

    To spin on one's heel
    To do a one-eighty
    To do an about-face
    To wheel around
    To whirl about
    To depart
    To remove oneself
    To flee
    To shove off
    To vamoose
    To skidaddle
    To make tracks
    To retire
    To take one's leave
    To make oneself scarce
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  2. ~&&~ Comedic Way ~&&~
    Anna Louise spun on her heels, and after tripping several times, she limped away.

    ~&&~ Sombre Way ~&&~
    After the military man handed the widow the American flag, he nodded solemnly, turned, and marched away.

    ~&&~ Action-Packed Way ~&&~
    The assassin shot her gun three times before she made a 180 on her feet and and formed skid marks upon the ground in order to take cover.
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  3. Comedic Way:
    The newly-created robot was commanded to spin, to test out it's systems. It spun slowly, whizzing as it turned, and kept spinning, and spinning, and spinning. The scientist sighed.

    Somber Way:
    After giving the news, Doctor Herbert turned and left the room with the nurses, leaving the parents alone.

    Action-Packed Way!!!:
    The orc warrior slashed with his great-sword, spat on the ground, turned, and left, without as much as looking at his opponent, who lay dying on the floor.
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  4. Good job! For a bonus round, try using a word other than 'turned' to describe the action!
  5. I probably failed at this... But let's try anyway.


    Failing to impress the crowd, Konya attempts to leave, however as she makes her way towards the exit she trips, spins several times and then finally facing the right way escapes through the door, followed by angry shouts.

    Ruins of the city they failed to save lie in front of them, numerous explosions can be seen as beautiful skyscrapers are reduced to rubble. With nothing they can do, they lower their heads and shamefully turn their backs to the ruins, walking away.

    He could clearly see the other fighter fly right next to him, and he knew he was toast if something was not done. He reaches for the handle and reverses the thrust of his left engine, causing the fighter to violently rotate around its axis, until it was facing opposite of where he it was a while ago. With his opponent in sight, he launches all of his remaining missiles.
    (Note, Space fighters, do not try this in atmospheric conditions)
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  6. Comedic:
    Hugo the skeleton doffed his skull to the young woman like a man would doff his cap. "Good day," he said politely, before rotating his head around and attaching it onto his body, facing backwards. He jumped up and his body twisted around to face the same direction of his body, before landing and setting off along the street to the next house.

    Adam stood solemnly before the mahogany door, feeling the rain soaking through his hair and hooded sweatshirt. He could only stare in silence at the place where his lover's face had been moments earlier, before she slammed the door shut. He closed his eyes and tried to fight back the tears, even as the cold November rain ran over his cheeks, before sniffling and turning around. He took a few steps down the driveway and then fought the urge to look back, trudging into the dark night and wondering how he would find the strength to wake up in the morning.

    Maria clenched her fists angrily and narrowed her eyes into a glare. Her nostrils flared and her cheeks burned a bright red as she seethed with rage. "Listen here, pal," she hissed, "I am not that into you and you can not put your hand there!" She gave the sleazebag a final death glare and spun about sharply on her heels, storming away from the bar.
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  7. The clown twirled and swung his spaghetti arms with each exaggerated stride to his exit.

    With each tread through the fog, the man's essence became less apparent.

    His feet were quick on the flooring as he hurried a rotation of himself on an escape.
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  8. ~Comedic~
    Mr. Worth drunkenly turned about-face from the bar to shoot off a snide comment, until he saw the size of the biker he insulted, and a close up on said bikers fist.

    "Jason, its over!" Mila spat as she truged past her now ex-boyfriend. The now emotionally broken boy spun on a heel and ran after her.
    "Mila wait! What did I do wrong?"

    Darryl heard the lightest of footfalls behind him before he whirled around, bat in hand, and clubbed the stalker in the head.

    (eh..dunno about these ones..)
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  9. :jester:

    She was caught, there was no denying it. The man she was standing next to at the bar noticed her stares and peeks. He even smiled at her; her cheeks flushed red with embarrassment. She spun around on the ball of her foot, her loose shoe laces catching beneath the other foot, and fell face first into the arms of the devilishly handsome stranger she'd been eying all night. Her ruin was complete.


    The young woman stood staring at the door, hand poised in midair to knock on the heavy oak. She looked with longing, glassy eyes at the bundle in her arm, gently moving the soft cloth wrapped around it aside. She couldn't bear the thought of what she had to do, though she knew it was best. Leaning down she kissed the soft round face of the child in the blankets and knocked on the door. She set the bundle down on the door step and turned away, glancing back with tears in her eyes before she hastily departed from the stoop of the orphanage.


    There was only a little bit of time, a narrow window through which to escape. If he didn't get away soon, the surrounding zombies would discover him, that he wasn't one of them, and he would be zombie bait. Slowing his pace, the man allowed himself to steadily get farther back into the crowd, the zombie guts he covered himself with falling off chunk by chunk. He waited until the numbers around him were more dispersed before he whipped around and took off running, tearing past those that reached out for him with their shriveled dead fingers.
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  10. Jake smirked at her as he turned to leave the hall - failing to notice and smacking right into the glass door. "I meant to do that!" he said, fumbling for the latch.

    She bowed her head in defeat, reaching for the doorframe as she said her last goodbye under her breath. Unwilling to look into her beloved's face, she spun and held her hands to cover fresh tears as she rushed out.

    The confusion and chaos continued to rise as more of the crowd was consumed with fear, looking up into the sky at the dark forms hovering above. Rick Daniels watched from the roof with cool calculation as it rose to full panic. He replaced his stetson and looked behind him, picking up his satchel and rifle. Striding back to the helicopter, he spoke over the noise of the blades into his mic: "Time to smash some alien heads, boyos." He buckled into the gunner's seat and cocked his rifle, now shouting into the mic, "let's ROCK!"
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  11. Fernando stumbled about and teetered away.

    Fernando stared for a long moment before walking away in the opposite direction.

    Fernando whirled around and barreled out.
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  12. Comedic Way: Everything was going fine until Jake slipped on a patch of coffee and slid right into the cat food display.
    Sombre Way: Cassidy left the room in tears, knowing she had nowhere to go after her dad died.
    Action Packed Way: Richie jumped from the burning building just as it exploded.
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