Passive Voice

Why am I writing this post?
Ordinarily, I have avoided these type of posts. First I felt like nobody would be interested. Secondly, there are so many posts out there for people to get help from.
The other day, I began researching the passive voice. It is something that I felt was in all of my writing’s. I began taking notes from the sites I was looking at.
I thought to myself, where am I going to put these notes? If I put them in my notebook, they become like all the other writing tips, where I can’t even remember if I have them. If I leave them on the scraps of paper I wrote them on, I’m going to lose them.
The solution: write a blog post.
This blog post is primarily for me. If others find help from it, that is an added bonus. If others find the need to point out something I got wrong, that is excellent because I want to learn.
The passive voice
The people (those people who decide everything even though you can never pinpoint who exactly made the decision) have said that using passive voice is lazy writing. It is one of the rules. Active is engaging and active.
I hear you cry, “break the rules!”
In my opinion, I can only break the rules when they become second nature to me in the first place. At that point, I am breaking the rule as a stylistic choice instead of being a blundering idiot.
How to spot the passive voice?
Number one, it will more than likely (but not always) have “was” followed by a word ending in “–ed.” Basically, it boils down to a form of the verb “to be” and a past participle*.
Number two, if you read over a sentence two or three times and you are still unclear about who was doing the action, chances are it is using a passive voice.
Number three, if the subject appears, it will be at the end of the sentence often in a phrase that starts with “by.” If there is no subject, you can add “by zombies” after the verb and if it makes sense, it is using a passive voice.
*It’s important to remember that not every sentence that contains a form of “have” or “be” is passive.
Questions to ask yourself when you are eyeballing a possible passive sentence
Is there an action going on in the sentence?
If so, what is at the front of the sentence?
Is it a person or thing that does the action?
Is it the person or thing that has the action done to it?
Example: the bone was caught by the dog.
We have:
> was and past participle
> if you needed to read that a few times to understand it, you either have a very short attention span, or your eyesight’s going.
> We have the “by…” in there.
> The action: the bone is being caught.
> The object (the bone) is at the front.
> It is a thing (the dog) that does the action.
Conclusion: this sentence is passive.
The bone was caught by the dog.
Becomes: the dog caught the bone.

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Green

Write a list of 25 sentences that all start with the word “green”.

Green lemon is a lime, I’m pretty sure, but in French, it is citron vert. Green is a colour, a surname and stands for jealousy or envy. Green also means someone is about to vomit or sneeze. Green has now frozen my brain, it wants me to try another prompt. Green will not win, I will make 25 sentences out of you. Green is a secondary colour made by blue and yellow. Green is stupid, go home green. Green is the colour representing money, ha I just remembered that! Green is the colour of grass, trees et cetera, it makes me wonder how the grass knows to be green, did they have a meeting? Green is a colour I will not talk about anymore because it is kind of boring, there must be other things my brain can come up with. Green is moss, I like moss because it is soft but then I worry about the bugs crawling all over me, moss only works in stories, not in real life. Green food is healthy, I like it now, the only time I eat sweets is when greens good friend red comes for a visit. Green and red remind me of Christmas time, which sucks because I can only wear my green pants and red top around Christmas. Green! I’ve just noticed the last few sentences were about colour, so I used you in the form of a curse. Greene, George was a scientist. Greenland should be called Ireland and vice versa because Ireland is all green while Greenland is covered in snow, someone dropped the ball that day. Green is not the colour of ink in my pen which is wasting even though there is still an inch left in the cartage. Green nearly made me skip a number: 18 comes after 17, not 19! Green is making my brain throb, my mind is filled with green. Green help me, I’m running out of things to write. Green helps nobody but himself, or herself. Green, I’ll make a character out of you and make you die a lonely slow death. Green, touché, instead I’ll stick you into a never-ending birthday party where the song is directed at you! Green, of course, I’m evil, I’m a writer, I hold the pen. Green stop talking to the other characters, it’s all lies, I’m the boss, not them!

25/09/13 Weekly Update

We are five weeks away from National Novel Writing Month. If you would like to join me and so many others from around the world to write 50,000 words this November go here.
This is my invitation to you. I had never written anything like this before last year. I decided about a week before the first of November to do it. I planned and read books. I rounded the number to 60,000 so that it divides better by 30 days.
I wrote 2000 words a day. Supported by you guys and my Facebook friends who all thought I was running some strange-ass marathon! Continue reading

Being Sarcastic

“Well, this is a nice change of scenery.”
“It’s a prison cell.”
“I was being sarcastic.”
“What’s that?”
“What?!”
“What is “being sarcastic”?”
“Are you serious?”
“You shouldn’t use a word if you don’t know what it means.”
“I know what it means.”
“Why won’t you answer my question?”
“Because I can’t believe you don’t know what it means!”
“Do you know the meaning of all the words in all of the dictionaries?”
“No, don’t be stupid.”
“I’m not stupid. I try very hard not to be. It’s why I asked you the question. It’s perfectly okay to admit ignorance, you know.”
“Yeah, but who would know all the words in all of the dictionaries?”
“I assume the people who wrote them would know a lot of the words.”
“I wasn’t asking you the question, I was repeating what you said to me.”
“Oh, why were you doing that?”
“I can’t remember!”
“You are avoiding telling me what “being sarcastic” means because you don’t actually know and you have a fear of being called stupid.”
“I do not have fear of being called stupid.”
“Prove it.”
“How am I supposed to prove that?”
“Tell me what “being sarcastic” means.”
“…”
“You don’t know?”
“I do! It’s just hard to put into words.”
“That usually means you don’t actually understand it properly.”
“It’s a way of speaking.”
“That explains nothing.”
“You’re nothing!”
“No need to get defensive. Admit that you don’t know.”
“I do know! I know how to use it. It’s hard to explain it, that’s all.”
“Try to explain it.”
“What do you think I’m doing!”
“Turning red and spitting in my face.”
“That wasn’t a question!”
“But you started it with “what”, and by the end, you raised your voice. That’s how a question works. And you stared at me expectantly, when you had finished talking.”
“You are impossible.”
“Nice diversion tactic.”
“What?”
“You are getting angry and jumping around the place to try and make me forget what we were talking about. It’s nice, but it won’t work against me.”
“I’m not doing that. I’m tired of this conversation.”
“Yes, you are. And all it takes to end it, is for you to admit that you don’t know, or explain what it means.”
“FINE! I don’t know what it means! I can’t define it. Are you happy? You can tell everyone how stupid I am.”
“I’m not going to tell everyone that you are stupid, it’s a good thing to be able to admit you don’t know something.”
“Yeah, whatever.”
“The first definition is “harsh or bitter derision or irony.” The second definition is “a sharply ironical taunt; sneering or cutting remark.” Next time, you will know.”
“You knew the whole time?”

18/09/16 Update

Writing
Another excellent week, I give myself full marks. 4986 words in my WIP, edited two 500 word stories and did another new writing prompt. I realise that I am only 20 words short of the 5000. There is the writing advice that says to stop in the middle of a sentence, to help the juices flow the following writing session. I cannot do this. I stopped at the end of the scene, and writing even 20 words would have meant that I started a new scene. I finished two chapters this week.
I’m trying to put humour into my writing. Continue reading