Passive Voice?

Passive voice is the bane of a writer’s existence. I’m sure everyone has gotten that mark across their writing “Your voice is passive” whether it’s from an editor, a peer, or a teacher. But really, what is passive voice?

The easiest explanation for it is when you don’t know who is doing the action. And this page from How to Write the Story is one of the best examples of how to fix passive voice.

Not only is it fun and amusing (zombies people!), but it clearly and succinctly explains passive voice. With examples and even including tweetables, this is probably the most straightforward example of the difference between active and passive voice that I have ever seen.

What do you think of passive voice? Is it something you find yourself using in your writing? Or do you try to avoid it?

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Grammar-itis Take One

It must be grammar day. Or writing day. Or something day. In my emails today, I was tagged with two grammar sites and three different writing commentaries. Actually now that I think about it, that’s not much for me. It’s actually a slow day when I don’t get a few posts about writing.

But not everyone has friends who are writers, aspiring writers, or amateur writers. (And hey thesaurus, amateur doesn’t necessary mean sloppy!) So I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve been sent over the next few entries.

Today from the lovely k3nj1ph1, I have an article about word usage from Writer’s Circle. Now anything I link to or post on here is to be used at your own discretion. It is not intended to become a bible for you.

So the idea here (as near as I can tell) is to use more active words. And I’m all for that. I think writing should be exciting and fun and we should have action in it!

Now if you haven’t clicked the link, you should because I’m going to discuss a couple of the things in the actual article.

Very/Really
I’m not sure you need to delete this completely. I could understand using them in some places. Or at least using them sparingly. That being said, I am going to keep an eye on MY usage over the next few weeks of my writing.

Suddenly
I’m sure I use this entirely too much. Or I did. I’m absolutely going to keep an eye out for the usage and attempt to replace it. In my editing if nothing else.

Amazing/Awesome
I had a difficult time not laughing at this one. It’s one I hear A LOT with students so it’s already on my list of not to use, but it’s still a good one to keep in mind.

That
I actually had a professor my senior year of college who made us go through three or four papers and find our most commonly used phrase. Mine was “the fact that”. Now this was essay writing and I still find myself using the phrase, but I’ve cut down a lot. I can see how it would be useful not to use it.

I found the article interesting, I will definitely be reading more on this site. And I hope you found the article helpful. Until next time. Happy writing!

That Golden Writing Time

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about this week (and this was supposed to be last week’s entry so you’ll get another one in a day or so), but I was talking to my friend and fellow writer, Hope, and she came up with the idea of making time to write.

So I’m going to start with a couple of questions:
1. How and when do you make time to write?
2. What do you find most difficult about finding time to write?
3. What is your ideal time to write?
4. (and this one might seem a bit off-topic) Do you like quiet when you’re writing or do you like some type of noise?

And then share my own answers:
1. How and when do you make time to write?
I work around my work and family schedule so my time varies from day to day and week to week. I most often find the best time for me to write is later in the evening after dinner because my family is settled in for the evening and is less likely to interrupt me. I generally still get pulled away from time to time, but at this point; I have found that requesting time just to write doesn’t work. I have learned to grab minutes here and there when I can. It doesn’t make me very consistent, but I have learned to write a lot in a little bit of time.

2. What do you find most difficult about finding time to write?
Finding time between everything else I think I SHOULD be doing. Or getting distracted by all the other things I COULD be doing. Like over the weekend, my room was such a mess that I put off writing to clean it. I felt much better once it was done but that was two hours when I was cleaning out my closet and putting things away that I possibly could be writing. Of course now I have a nice clean room where I can think and not be distracted by disaster.

3. What is your ideal time to write?
I prefer to write in the evenings. Not just because it’s most likely the time I’ll be left alone, but because it’s MY best brain time, despite what this article says. This though is an interesting commentary about getting up and writing.

4. (and this one might seem a bit off-topic) Do you like quiet when you’re writing or do you like some type of noise?
I like noise. I prefer to have the television or music on, to have conversation in the background, just some type of noise. I work better that way. Some people might find it distracting, but I can stare blindly at the TV screen and it jump starts my brain when I get stuck.

So what are your thoughts? Also is there anything you’d like to see in the next few blog posts? I’d love some feedback!

Hello 2015

Happy New Year! I don’t know how many of my readers here know that I’ve been a member of Writing Dot Com (WDC) for almost twelve years. This is one of the groups my sister of the heart introduced me to (although at least she didn’t sign me up for this one like she did the other.)

I joined WDC those many long years ago to have a place to share my writing and get constructive criticism on my work. Instead I found so much more. I found friends and mentors and a place where I’ve felt at home since the moment I joined.

But this post isn’t supposed to be about how I feel about WDC; it’s supposed to be about my goals for January and 2015. The reason I started talking about WDC is that I joined a group on the site that’s an accountability group. Each month, we pick between one and five topics and set goals.

I got a wee bit ambitious this month and set the following goals:
Writing: 5000 words
Reading: 500 minutes
Promotion/Blogging: 4 entries
Reviewing: 8 entries

Now that’s for this month. In addition I’m going to continue working on my goals that I set way back at the end of 2013. I’ve changed them just a little bit.

Five Writing Goals:
By One year (2015):
To continue with my writing. To meet goals that I set as each month passes. (See above)

By Two years (2016):
To publish my Leave series and Blood Oath (if it I don’t do it before now) either through smashwords or another site. This means I have to finish Leave. To create and launch my own author’s blog site.

By Five years (2020):
To continue writing and hopefully publishing. I don’t really have a five year plan at this point. I’d just like to get settled right now.

Hopefully that gives everyone some idea of where I am going in the next few months and that I will ideally have some writing for all of you in the next few weeks and months. Thanks for following me. Welcome to 2015!