Important Update: Calorie Count will be shutting down on March 15th. Please click here to read the announcement. Data export is available.
Games & Challenges

Sometimes the perfect adjective can make a sentence sing. Sometimes it can strangle the life out of it and leave it - and your reader - dead on the floor. This is a lesson every writer has to learn - usually more than once.

The main problem with adjectives is that they often end up “telling” rather than “showing.” It’s nouns and verbs that give your writing real strength.

For this game challenge, take a sentence to pass on and have it pimped up to create a better meaning.

For example, take this sentence: “The girl was nervous and sweaty.” Pretty boring, right?

Pimped up: “The girl’s skin glistened with perspiration. She chewed at the fingernails of one hand, while twisting a lock of hair with the other.” Now, you can “see” for yourself that the girl is nervous and sweaty.

So it begins.

21 Replies (last)

Jack fell down the hill.

Jack reeled, stumbling before his backside hit the floor in a superb demonstration of clumsiness: said backside left a lovely long skidmark through the grass all the way down the hill as he fell.

Whoops, I went off on one, there.

The clock ticked slowly.

Jack was eagerly hiking, griping one rock at a time when he lost his footing and tumbled down hitting branches and boulders on the way down.  dammit...too slow

Ready to leave class, we all watched the second-hand of the clock tick. It felt like each second that ticked by was an hour.

My shoes hurt.

Pain radiates up my big toe and into the ball of my foot, throbbing like a heartbeat with each step, reminding me that no female could possibly have invented these torture devices that we call high heels.

My cat is gray.

Not sure what you are after.

How about  My corn refused to cob this year??

My Siamese is a bowling ball without a bowling alley?

Is a prolonged description 'better' than a to the point stabber?  I can gut you with a word or two; why prolong the bloody agony? 

I walked in to find the cat lounged on the chair like he was king of the room, master of his domain; confident in that smokey shade of charcoal that makes me yearn for a warm fire, his old sole beckoned me to touch his downy fur.

Edit: Forgot to add a plain sentence:

My dinner has gone cold.

The lovely dinner I was about to eat is now an unappetizing mass of congealed gravy covering a cold mass unidentifiable meat beside a pile of limp, pathetic looking veggies from which the steam has long since risen.


Edit:  Drat, I also forgot the plain sentence.


Tyler stood there shivering.

Tyler shivered, shaking a tiny percentage of the cold rain off his drenched and tired body.  Please God, he thought, make the drill sergeant let us go inside.


The movie was unbelievable.

As the thundering roars broke the silent awe and the flashes of light lit up the room, the shock, fear and tension of the patrons could be seen.  We knew it was just a movie, but left feeling as if we had been right in the middle of the intense action. 


My car won't start.

(I probably just jinxed myself with that statement.  LOL!)

I close my eyes and turn the key in the ignition. My shaking hands slip. I wipe the water from my face, tears mingled with the rain. Please. The engine doesn't turn. I turn the key again. Desperate to hear the rumble of the V-8, all I hear is the rain hitting the metal roof and the thunder crashing in the cold wilderness outside.


The sun is hot.

I realize that now there's a gurgle-gloop. I peek around and yup, there's rusty brown liquid seeping from beneath the dash.  The entire convulated wire snake down there has become wet licorice.  I resist the urge to turn into a yoga master so that I can chew it.  The rain smacking the windshield means nothing now.

As poet didn't post a new sentence, I'm going to take the "The sun is hot".

Agony. Self-injury for vanity, and where did it get me? Oh, yes. Stinging, scorching agony. Yes, that was it. It's rather hard to think clearly when your body is slapped ketchup red and stiff as a cadaver. "Put on the SPF 30!" My mother had cried, and I had waved it off like a stray hair; I was an idiot to have gone unprotected.


It was a dark and stormy night.

The weathered cabin was hugged by the darkness of the storm; the outline made visible only by the flashes of lightning.  Silenty waiting to be greeted by the rising waters of the river below, it stood alone without fear as the bending trees waved their final goodbye's. 


The car is blue.

One could hardly recognize the color of the four wheeled heap of oxidized iron rolling down the alley. The once beautiful cerulean hue of this mechanical masterpiece had become a pitiful shade of dark rust that had faces turning towards much more pleasing sights, such as piles of garbage and sewer drains. One would never have thought that this abominable contraption's luster was once as the refulgent blue of Mother Earth's bonnet, the sky.

The lion roared

A deep booming sound crossed the vast, sun scorched plain. A herd of zebra, quietly grazing, were suddenly alert prey, ears raised, tails swishing and flight instincts at the ready. The lion’s territorial call echoed for all living things to fear.


The lake was frozen.

"F***! I can't believe I fell down the hill", Jack cursed.  He confirmed that nothing had broken, then gathered up his rod and tackle box, and headed for the hole he'd cut in the ice the day before.  He fumbled around with nearly numb fingers, then plopped the baited hook into the water and sat on the overturned bucket to wait.

"I'm going to ask Sarah to marry me," he thought.


He pulled the small blue box out of his jeans pocket again. It creaked as he opened it for the umpteenth time and allowed the sun to refract through the glittering diamond that nestled on the satin cushion within. Tensing his jaw, he snapped the box shut quickly and realized that the fluttering of anxious butterflies in his belly was reminding him that he was not certain of her response. “Sarah.” Her name rolled around in his mind, dinging into happy memories like a chrome ball in a pinball machine. “I’m ready,” He decided and stuffed his hopes for the future back into his pocket.


She lay down and looked at the stars.


Sarah was bundled up against the cold but wanted a few minutes to herself before she went into supper.  This old glider on her grandmother's front porch was her favorite spot to think things through.  She knew she was going to say "Yes" to Jack, but she'd told him she needed a little time before she gave him her answer.  Jack was a good man, she knew that, solid and dependable, didn't drink too much.  So different from her son's daddy, what a mess that was.

The phone rang.

[The phone rang]

Struggling to consciousness, something had pierced Jessy’s dreams. Squinting blearily at the clock she saw it was 2 am, who could be ringing at this hour? “Only bad news calls in the middle of the night”, she thought, scrambling out of bed in a panic. Of course, she had left her cell on the hall table last night, dumped there, along with her car keys when she came in. Only barely awake, she almost tumbled down the steep stairs, reaching the phone just as it stopped its insistent refrain. Typical.


Next sentence: Amber waited at the bus stop.

So, there Amber stood, tapping her foot slightly, glancing at her watch every few seconds with a grimace as the cars sped by choking her with their stench. She leaned out occasionally looking, watching, waiting for the slow rambling behemoth that would take her home.

The dog was sleeping on the couch.

21 Replies (last)