Why would I use that term in that scenario when grabs, takes, picks up, reaches for, slip, tug, pull, yank, and so forth can be equally handy? What image or what sense do I want the reader to take from this word picture?
Anyone? This is a person who’s trying to control a situation that is, ultimately, beyond her ability to control. She can grab her bag, which is a casual word—you grab your bag on the way out of the door to run an errand. She can take her bag, but so can anyone any time; she can pluck up her bag, like one would do from the baggage claim at the airport; reaches for is one of those words that never seems complete. Why would she feel as though she’s rescuing her bag? It’s one action she can perform when she’s helpless about other aspects of her situation. It sets a certain tone that rescue is necessary, if not by her, then for her. Why is she out in this dangerous situation at all?
Make your words count in order to create a feeling, a specific sort of tension, or the perfect subtle foreshadow.
What do all those things imply? Again, I’m setting the stage. How do I want you to feel about these people? What images are invoked by these words: black, dark, dirt, caramel, mocha, Italian, light, tan? Under what circumstances might you use these words to describe the same person? Keep your characters unique by letting them see things differently.