Writing Exercise: Omit “The”

We’re going to try something a little different today. This isn’t a divergent thinking exercise, but I’m hoping it will get you think more creatively.

Describe what you see in the picture to the left: where you’re going, what you’re doing, why you’re glad you found  it, or whatever strikes your fancy in a paragraph or two. But do it all without using the word “the.”

We all have our safety words. Since it’s an article, “the” gets used a lot. But we don’t have to use it. Avoiding it can make our writing better, stronger and more interesting, even if we don’t do it on a regular basis.

If you really want to go out on a limb, try what author Ernest Vincent Wright did in his 1939 novel, GADSBY. In his more-than 50,000 novel, Wright didn’t use any words that contained the letter “e.”

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Comments

  1. Descending mountain trails at youth, hugging steep hillsides with other exploring youth, climbing behind plummeting waterfall on a hot day and being inspired, refreshed, wanting to go further, loving it.

  2. I had no idea GADSBY had no words with letter E. How fascinating! Who would purposely do that and why? Was he crazy? I can’t imagine how much EXTRA time it took him. I’m trying to write a chapter without letting the reader know the sex of my villain. How do I do that without including a he or she? Maybe this exercise will get me primed for it.
    Thanks, Robin!

    • Robin says:

      I can’t imagine. For days after I learned that, I was noting how many E’s I use in almost every sentence. And why don’t you want the sex of your vilian known?

    • Robin says:

      I can’t imagine. For days after I learned that, I was noting how many E’s I use in almost every sentence. And why don’t you want the sex of your villain known?

  3. Haroon says:

    What a breath-taking site! Tons of water cascading thunderously from above and descending in to a plunge pool. It’s as if a clear veil is shielding your eyes – infinitely humbling itself down towards your toes without limit.

    • Hi Haroon!
      Love your paragraph! Well done. I can tell you are a writer. Was it tough not using “the”?
      Thanks for stopping by and I hope you find valuable info here that helps you with your writing journey.

  4. Robin says:

    Haroon,

    Your paragraph is beautiful. It made me want to find a pool of water and dive in. It read well without “the”, as though it was natural — I’m especially impressed since I know how hard that is!

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