A Verb Challenge

It may have been a while since you were instructed to use strong verbs instead of weak ones, so let’s play with some verbs.  Here is a list of nine verbs.  See if you can put them into a story.  Feel free to use other tenses if needed.

  • Insert
  • Blast
  • Jiggle
  • Maneuver
  • Gulp
  • Wonder
  • Gather
  • Reminisce
  • Struggle

31 responses to “A Verb Challenge

  1. OFF TOPIC, but I’d like you writers to follow the following link and tell me what you think of the descriptive writing in the article. Not the subject matter, just the writing.

    I’ll tell you my opinion after you tell me yours.


    • In the shell of a nut I thought it overwritten in some romantic way, more like an excerpt(s) from a piece of fiction than a review written to make me want to go there. Was ready to read about “sinewy bodies glistening in the sun,” or “my heart fluttered in anticipation…” Hope its not one of your projects ;o)

      • My thoughts exactly. Lots of purple prose there. At first, I couldn’t bear to read it. Went back a couple days later.

        I did like this line, though: “The Okavango Delta is open for repairs on broken and tired people. “

    • I think this is a swamp of words, which is tiring to read and is why I quit it.

    • I’m very interested in the subject matter, but got so bored with the excess words that I quit, too.

  2. I watch in wonder as two fleshy orbs jiggle, highlighting six feet of pure sex wrapping her arms around the brass pole, spinning like a naked ballerina in one of those cheap wind-up jewelry boxes, oblivious to our stares, dancing as if she is the star of the show, perhaps the world, ZZ Top’s “Legs” blasting across the packed room.

    I reminisce of earlier days when I held a young lady like that in my arms, so in love, so young. Softer music. Sweeter days. Shorter nights.

    I gulp the last of my beer and wipe my lips with my fingertips; my struggle with my conscience is over. I maneuver to the stage, and she crouches before me, not looking at me, but through me, her smile painted pale as if epoxy.

    I insert a fiver in her G-string, return to my table, gather my overcoat, and begin my return home to reality.

  3. As our tradition required, our group of four gather at Four Corners Inn on the fourth day of the fourth month of the years ending in four. We sit and reminisce over the battles and victories that we struggled to overcome together, and wondered what the next ten years would send us.

    We raise a glass and gulp the last drop of our special brew, toasting those that the battles had taken and are going to take. We maneuver ourselves through the Inn’s Four Brisket Buffet and fill ourselves until our belly’s jiggled. With a blast of compressed gas, the corks of several champagne bottles flew throughout the room. Joshua stood and raised his glass, the final toast of the reunion, “Life inserted us into each other’s lives. We’ve fought together, lived together and overcome great odds together. To not friendship, but undying bond of brotherhood that comes not from a bloodline, but from blood spilt. We are growing old my comrades, to those whom life takes from us before we meet again, Godspeed until we unite once again at our final reward.” With glasses emptied, we turn and without fanfare, leave without a goodbye or farewell, because even when we’re apart, we are still part of each other’s soul, ever present, ever vigilant.

  4. Tom Swift and His Metal Aeroplane
    Or, The Perfection of the Turbine Motor

    © 1910 by Gary W. Treible as Victor Appleton

    Chapter I – Tom’s Bold Idea

    Mr. Barton Swift was sitting in his study seemingly struggling with a pile of thin metal strips. Each was perforated at regular half-inch intervals, and the aged inventor was attempting to assemble four of them into a miniature four sided girder using several nuts and bolts. The process was proving difficult, and it had become clear that his enterprise would benefit from at least two more hands than Mr. Swift had available.

    Just as he was about to insert, what he hoped would be, the final bolt, his son Tom walked through the arched entrance to the study. At the sound of his greeting, Mr. Swift’s work, for the seventh time, collapsed into a grand pile upon his desk.

    “Tom,” he said, somewhat frustrated, “What brings you back into the house in the middle of the afternoon? I thought you were working on improving your mono-plane, the Humming-Bird.”

    “In fact I am Dad,” Tom said with considerable enthusiasm. “I had already made many improvements over the aeroplane I flew to win the $10,000 government prize, but then it occurred to me that my materials were a number behind.”

    “In what way?” asked the renowned inventor as he organized the metal strips lying about his desk back into tidy piles. “Other than wood and canvas, what other materials could possibly be used to construct a serviceable flying machine? Why, every aeroplane in the world is built using them.”

    “I know Dad, but you must admit, aeroplanes, even well-built ones like the Humming-Bird, are fragile, and that limits their speed. I want to build the fastest machine ever. Not just one that would beat Andy Foger’s ‘Slugger’ by a length, but one that can travel several times the speed of the very fastest machine around.”

    “Tom,” said Mr. Swift shaking his head. “What could you use to make your machine stronger than good old solid wood?”

    “Metal!” Tom said with a hint of bravado. “Not just any metal either, but a new kind of metal called Aluminum. It’s as strong as the best steel, but weighs just a fraction. I’ve already made a model, and it seems to develop plenty of lift if the speed is right.”

    “Metal?” the aged inventor repeated as a question. “I know it could work in theory, but Tom, just how fast must you go to get a metal aeroplane to leave the ground? “

    “I’ve worked that out Dad. With an improved wing, my new machine could fly if it could make a mile a minute on the ground. I know that’s fast. Indeed, it’s very fast, but that’s why I’ve come to see you.”

    “Well Tom, I’m afraid I can’t be of much help to you with that, and besides, I’m rather busy working on my metal construction kits for aspiring inventors. I’m thinking of adding an electric motor, and possibly gears, to the larger sets in order to make them more practical. I just need to end my struggle with this square girder business.”

    “Actually, you’ve already helped me Dad,” the young inventor said. “Your invention of the turbine motor is exactly the ticket for making my metal aeroplane fly.”

    “The turbine motor? The invention you saved from the unscrupulous financiers and their villainous agents, the Happy Harry Gang?”

    “The very same. See Dad, I have this idea that if I couple two of them together, the first could act to gather air and force it under great pressure into the second, where it is my intention to inject gasolene and cause it to burn. The blast from the burning fuel will cause the second turbine to rotate, which will, in turn, cause the first machine to rotate even faster. As it does so, it will gulp even more air until the entire contraption is running at very high speed. The motion of the air through the turbine engines will be like the most powerful, and well designed, propeller ever invented. I dare say it could make even a brick fly.”

    Mr. Barton Swift sat back in his chair and thought for a moment. “Tom, I don’t know if it can be made to work, but it’s thanks to your bravery that we still have the turbine engine invention at all. If you can perfect it for this application, I wish you well and give you my blessing.”

    “Thanks Dad,” said Tom, smiling broadly. “You can be sure I’ll give it my best. Oh, and by the way, on your girder project. You might want to consider rolling the edges of each of the four pieces. That will make them hold together better, and I think you can secure all four pieces with just two bolts.”

    The senior inventor looked down on his piles of metal strips and laughed. “Tom, as always, I think you might have something with that. I’ll layout the new shape and take my drawings over to Mr. Merton in Mansburg to have some samples manufactured. He’ll certainly wonder what they are all about I’m sure. As for your project, you’ll find the turbine blue prints in the strong box upstairs. You know the combination, but you may have to jiggle the lever a bit to get it open.”

    With that, Tom was off. Years later it would be easy to get Tom to reminisce of that day. Especially in the company of Miss Mary Nestor, who was forever breath-taken by his tales of traveling faster than four miles a minute in the stratosphere while always out-maneuvering the bully Andy Foger. But, before Tom’s high-flying adventures could begin, he would have to build his metal aeroplane, and, even for our enterprising hero, that would prove no small task.

    Chapter II – The Turbine Engine Explodes

    • I think that perhaps there is no stopping either you or young Tom. Somehow ending this with Chapter II makes it even better.


    He opened his eyes slowly and felt as if his body was on fire. Rushing into his brain, came the reminisce of what little he remembered before he blacked out. Memory didn’t come in a continuous and orderly sequence of events but in the form of flashy impulses of different intensity.
    The familiar wide and rough face of Jim, his boss, came into his field of vision above him.
    “Where am I?” he asked in a weak and tired voice.
    “You are in the hospital recuperating from an accident you had that almost took you to the other world.”
    “What happened?”
    “In very simple terms, what happened was that you were struggling trying to insert the sticks of dynamite into the wall of the mountain we were planning to blast down. The maneuver to get you to that point on the wall was extremely dangerous for there was no point of support upon which you could stand and jiggle the sticks deep inside. But you, as usual, didn’t listen to me and instead of selecting another spot, insisted in doing it your way.”
    At that point, Jim took a small bottle of cheap bourbon from the back pocket of his pants and gulped a long drink. He put the bottle back in the pocket and continued.

    “After struggling long and hard, you were able place the sticks in the right place and we were ready to lift you out. However, somehow, we still don’t know how, the safety belt failed and you slipped off the rope falling 30 feet down upon the rocky bottom of the mountain.”
    “A group of co-workers gathered immediate and we went up the mountain to help you and to bring you down to a place from where an helicopter could pick you up.”
    Frankly, in my opinion, it is a wonder that you came alive from that accident with a broken leg and a few bruises, only. And that, my friend is called a miracle.”

  6. I struggled with this challenge mightely, until I found myself reminisceing about some of the other recent dares that Ann has provided. As I gathered my memories from the basket of my brain cage, I began to wonder if the Muse would ever arrive. With a sudden gulp, I maneuvered my way to my desk and found my fingers pounding at the keyboard with such force as to actually jiggle my computer monitor. I began blasting away, and the story of being transferred to Germany inserted itself into my conciousness.

    I was a U.S. Airforce air traffic controller, inserted into the island City of West Berlin in 1961. The assignement blasted me behind the Iron Curtain for a three-year tour of duty. I jiggled with delight when I heard that I was being transferred from the doldrums of McClellan Air Force Base in provincial Sacramento, California to maneuver my way into the hot spot of the Cold War. When the lieutenant in personnel called me into his office to give me the news of my relocation, I literally gulped with the anticipation of seeing Europe at last. I had always wondered if the Air Force would ever make good it’s recruiting poster promise of “Join Up and See the World.” As I gathered up my belongings and headed out the gate to board a bus to the Sacramento Airport, I reminisced a bit about the boring two years I had spent in this cow-town. I struggled with my large duffel bag, and headed out on my great adventure.

  7. Krystyna Fedosejevs

    The Garden

    Juanita gulped the last of her coffee and placed the mug on the kitchen table. Something outdoors caught her attention. She stared out the window overlooking her parents’ garden. A rustling of autumn leaves on the patio, nothing more.

    She remembered looking out that window countless times in her youth. Seeing her mom hang out laundry on the line. Dad cut the lawn, always struggling with the mower’s electrical cord. She watched their perennials like daisies, roses and lilies blast spectacular colour from early spring to late summer. She wondered if she could ever learn their gardening technique.

    Evening darkness started to creep into her space. Juanita maneuvered her body to the table and picked up a container. The pudding jiggled with a shimmer. She inserted a plastic spoon. Waited.

    “I miss you, Mom,” she cried out. “You, too, Dad.”

    Tears blotted her face as she devoured the contents. She gathered her belongings, placed house keys in the center as the realtor had requested. She slammed the front door shut for the last time. Leaving the home she shared with her late parents. Taking memories to reminisce and treasure forever.

    • Very sweet story. I still eat pudding when I am sad, to bring back the childhood memories of licking the spoon and pan, after my Mom finished making it from scratch.

    • Krystyna: yes indeed. At one point in our live we all have to close some door and leave a place we love taking only memories. Nice piece.

      • Krystyna Fedosejevs

        Thank you, Lando, for your thoughtful, sadly true comment.
        I must be getting old; harder to accept changes when several favourite people and places no longer exist in my physical life. Bring out the Kleenex!


    • I hope you keep this. If it is true, it is full of memories well kept.

      • Krystyna Fedosejevs

        How perceptive you are, Ann!
        I renamed myself for this story; the experience of closing that front door for the last time was genuinely mine. I cherish the memories.


  8. CHANGES January 2014
    (excuse the mistakes, forgive the sinner)

    “Muci, please, come to sleep.” Implored the mother once more.
    “I’m trying to sleep, mother.” the response came with a hint of annoyance.
    “How could you sleep down there?”
    “I feel comfortable and cozy down here. Just let me be, please.”
    “Well, your father is about to come home and he’ll be asking for your whereabouts. He is not going to be happy knowing that you are sleeping down there.” She wanted to sound tough, but it didn’t come that way.
    “I’ll explain my reasons to him and I’m sure he’ll understand.”
    “Right, and that will be the day the world will come to its end.”

    As anticipated, the father came rushing in and took his place next to his partner.
    “Where is Muci?” he asked.
    “Sleeping down there”
    “Down where?”
    “Down there… against the wall.” she responded pointing to the spot where Muci was all curled up.
    “How could he be sleeping down there? I’ll go and have a talk with him.” the father said with resolute. Then, jumping down, he stood next to his son.

    “Muci, are you all right? Why are you sleeping here?
    “Yes father, I’m feeling all right and I sleeping here because I feel much better lying horizontally than with my head upside-down.” responded Muci now facing his father from a sitting position.
    “But Muci, you are a BAT, for Dracula’s sake!. You are a bat! We bats sleep hanging from the ceiling upside-down since day one; since the time when the first bat was created.”
    “I’m sorry dad but I can’t take it anymore. Hanging from the ceiling give me vertigos, increases the recurrence of acid reflux and give me headaches in the morning. So, I decided to find a better way. That‘s all.”
    “Are you a rebel who doesn’t want to follow the way we have done things from the beginning of time? What if everyone else follows your method? Are you going to be leading a revolution? Voiced the father.
    “No, I don’t think I’m a rebel who doesn’t want to follow the old ways, or a leader that asks to be followed on new ones. I just found out a better way to sleep and I’m adopting it.
    You see, sometimes we have to break the routine of doing things the same way in order to find better ways to do it.” explained Muci with calm and self-assurance.
    “I never thought I’ll live long enough to see this day.” Said the father with an expression of resignation on his face and a weak voice. “Anyhow, I guess a little change in our life will not be that bad.” he concluded.
    “Well, dad, now that we are discussing the subject of changes, I may as well tell you about another change I intend to do which is regarding my diet.”
    “A change in your diet? What are you talking about?
    “I decided to change my diet from being an insectivore as we microbats are, to a fruit eater as the megabats.”
    “What?! No sir, that I will not allowed. How could you renounce to your specie. How could you that to me, to the family, to the specie in general. We are microbats and that’s the way it’s going to remain.”
    “Sorry father, but I think that what I eat should be my concern alone.” Muci sounded determined and with conviction.
    “But Muci, you can not change centuries of tradition overnight. Evolution takes a long time. Please, be reasonable.”
    “Changes are part of life and adaptation to changes is key to survival, father. Please, understand that I’m not adopting these changes just to be different, I’m doing it because a feel better with myself.”
    The father dropped his ear and let his head down. “All right, do as you please.”
    “Thanks, I know you will understand.” said Muci turning around and curling up against the wall.
    The father jumped up and took his place hanging upside-down, next to the mother
    “What happened.” she asked
    “We are going to have some changes around here. That’s all. Lets go to sleep.”

  9. This short piece, part of a larger one, was written for a class I’m taking. Ann suggested this was a reasonable place to post it. Is it too personal and private for public consumption? I’m not sure of myself here.

    “Looking at Paris in this light brings back memories of so many years ago,” said Alan. “I remember that first ride into town, just like today. I was so young, and so alone. I was part of a group of officers who were brought in to help stabilize our presence in this war torn city. I thought then that Paris is a city for lovers.”
    Yes, I know about that, Ginny thought. You’ve told me this story many times.
    “When the doctors told us my cancer was in remission, the one thing I wanted most to do was to bring you here to Paris, my Ginny. I know we only have a short time, but I will treasure this time for a thousand years.”
    “When we get to the hotel, I think I need to rest for a bit, and then I want to take you to a lovely little street café. We can sit with a glass of wine and watch the beautiful people of this city. That was one of my favorite things to do when I was here. I think all runway models must first put in a requisite number of hours parading before the admiring eyes of the tourists here before they’re permitted on the runways of the fashion houses.”
    “Rest now, Alan, while you can. We’ll talk later,” Ginny said.
    “Thank you, my love, I won’t sleep long,” Alan said.
    This ambulance trip is our last ride together, Ginny thought. When we get to the Hospice Hospital we’ll be there together for the rest of your days on this earth, my beloved. They tell me your condition is deteriorating rapidly, and that I must give you permission to die. I don’t know if I can do that.

    © Meegiemom

    • Maeegie, sad and sentimental story. I like the line about that runway models must parade before tourist before they are permitted on runways of fashion houses. This is probably true.

  10. Gully, I followed your link. My impression is that the content is definitely there but somewhat broken with short sentences. I like how the descriptions grab at you and those thoughts would flow with longer sentences.
    Your turn

  11. Thank you for your kind words, Lando. I wish I had just a bit of your yarn spinning ability…they get to me.

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