A Big Mistake We Make While Writing : Use Verbs instead of Nouns

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If you take a look at Oscar’s best picture list from its inception you may find that most of its nominations and even winners are drama films. But in here we restrict drama to soap operas and whenever we see it on a large screen we just tag it as melodrama. So, what went wrong?

There may be many reasons like the plot, characters, acting, staging etc. But the most fundamental thing that goes wrong is that how we understand drama.

In here, often screenplay writers (also the director) write drama in nouns and adjective. Drama comes from character actions rather than their words. When we see many soap operas and films the drama is created through people just talking to each other, this may work sometimes but mostly it doesn’t. Then how to overcome this.

Write Verbs

So, why verbs, the answer is simple “action speaks louder than words”. Verbs have a quality, it describes what a character is doing, so they are active rather than static, they describe experience rather than information.

Most drama is built upon a character’s emotion and attitude. This can be achieved by writing verbs because they have physical and emotional component.

To explain this we can take an example from Breaking Bad season 3 episode 2, When Walter white throws pizza onto the roof of his house when his wife stops him from coming inside his house, we see his anger towards her in the form of an action. Think what if Walter white just stood outside and shouted at Skyler. It would have conveyed the information but when he throws the pizza we see an emotion through physical action.

So, when you write a drama short or feature next time look out for emotion rather than information.


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