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The mission of Pens & Pages Writers Guild is to facilitate and encourage writers of all genres, to share resources and tips about the writing process and, most of all, to provide a positive and productive forum that will encourage and support each writer in his or her creative endeavors.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Now for a walk on the wild side...

Heh -- did I get anyone with the title...? Don't worry -- I'm pretty PG13, almost exclusively, and this blog post is no different.

In working on my NaNoWriMo story today, I committed the ultimate "sin" and started reading back over what I've already written (only looking for timeline stuff to keep me on track with what I'm currently writing, mind...)

But invariably, as is the case with, ahem, good intentions I found myself editing for ... wait for it -- {{{{{PASSIVE VOICE}}}}} (the little wavy brackets there? -- those are the 'echo of DOOOOM' you should be hearing when you read {{{{{PASSIVE VOICE}}}}})

Anyway, I was (hah! take that Conference Experts!!) trying to look for creative ways to replace my "was's" and such when I came across this link:

In light of our PnP group discussion last night (and all the accompanying trauma for Robin -- God bless you today, little Writer!) I thought when I read this little article "A-HA! Eureka! and other exclamations -- This MUST go on our PnP Blog!!!

So, to you, my fellow writers in training (oops -- probably should have hyphenated that last term, but what the heck -- I'm feeling rebellious today!)

Go to the link. Read it. Live it. Damn the torpedoes, cry Havoc! and let loose the dogs of WAS.


DJ said...

Love the link!

MadeByAmanda said...

I think the "avoid passive verbs" rule is like any other: a good general rule, but slavishly adhering to it will be counterproductive.

Sometimes in avoiding the passive voice you end up creating writing that sounds unnatural. So don't use it then.

But I do think that part of the preponderance of passives in the linked piece has to do with it being a more academic work. It's not a page turner, and some of those words are going to slow you down when all you want to do is find out who killed Colonel Mustard in the library with a pipe.

Everything has its place.

I will say, I think I went through four years of Creative Writing classes without hearing much at all, if anything, about passive vs. active voice.

Solard said...

I agree -- I want the reader to not only understand what I write but feel compelled to continue reading what I write! Can't get that if you go on breaking all sorts of rules with a reckless disregard for what is readable.

You're right -- rules, like rumors, by necessity start from whole cloth. The trick is knowing them so well that you may then -break them- intelligently. ;-)

Robin said...

Ah, see that last comment on your comment, Solard, is the piece de resistance. You must KNOW the rules, I suppose, before you can break them. (overheard at writer's conference!!!). Well, I know some, and don't care for most so I'm hiding my internal editor for a bit, bitch was ticking me off! Stuck her back with the durn "office assistant"!)