Why: It is common among writers (especially young writers) to overuse “to be” (être*) verbs. By eliminating forms of être verbs you strengthen the impact of your writing by making it more efficient and more powerful.
Purpose: Avoid overuse of “to be” verbs.
Challenge: Write one page about a character wherein you describe him/her/it. However, you may only use the infinitive être verb (“to be”) in any form once per paragraph. This includes any and all conjugations of the verb as well as helping verbs.
- DIALOGUE. Write a one-page monologue in the voice of a character observing the same rules.
- ACTION: Write a one-page action scene or sequence with no dialogue observing the same rules.
- POETRY: Write a half-page in any meter desired observing the same rules except instead of once per paragraph, allow the être verb only once per stanza or once every 10 lines.
*Être is the infinitive form of the verb “to be” in French.