"V" is for Verbs
I mentioned on my "S" is for Short Words post that I really like Audrey Owen's Writing Tips. With her permission, I'm going to quote the part of Tip #5 (Use strong verbs and nouns) that deals with verbs.
The verbs are the action words. They put things in motion. Make yours as strong as possible.
The verb to be (am, is, are, was, were) puddles on the floor. Eliminate it wherever possible. I spent a year in Ukraine and experienced Russian, where the verb to be exists, but almost never appears. People simply leave it out and I found the effect powerful. In English we can't leave verbs out of our sentences, but we can make those we use work hard for us.
Writing Exercise: Re-work this postcard letter and get rid of all "to be" verbs. Share your results in the Comments Section. Is it more powerful?
(text version below)
Jambo (that means "How are you?"). I'm going on safari! The guide is a native to the land and is known for catching big game. We are going to stay at the Hotel Timbili, which was rated with five stars. We were fortunate to find such good accommodations in such a rural area.