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Welcome to My Official Web Page!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Passive Voice is NOT My Friend

I hate passive voice. I must have missed that lesson in high school. I managed to skip all English classes in college except for Ancient Literature so I missed it there too.

So lots of karma points to Judith for pointing it out in my sample pages!

Just in case anyone out there is lost on what passive voice is or wants a refresher, here's an example I just ferreted from my WIP.

Her family members had been recalled by Anubis one by one, leaving only her mother and Sitre as fragile links to Hatshepsut’s childhood.

This reads better as:

Anubis recalled her family members one by one, leaving only her mother and Sitre as fragile links to Hatshepsut’s childhood.

I've discovered this weekend that I really like to write in passive voice. Thank heavens for Word because otherwise I would totally skip over all the had beens in my WIP. I guess that's why it's called a Work In Progress, eh? But seriously, I just don't see passive voice. I can usually spot bad dialogue tags and pesky little adverbs. Sometimes it takes a few readings, but eventually I'll weed out the majority of the little buggers. It's just how I write. When there's a scene I have to get out of my head I don't care about showing instead of telling. I substitute an adverb and move on, knowing I'll fix it later. Rough drafts are supposed to be messy!

But passive voice? Blecch. Double blecch. Give me a passive voice grammar exercise and I'll can spot the problem, whip out a solution. Give me my manuscript and tell me to fix the passive tense? That's like asking George W. Bush to find a sentence where he used an imaginary word.

Yes, I just compared myself to Bush. I tried to think of an analogy for Van Gogh or Hemingway first, but couldn't manage it. My brain is too tired after fixing all these stinking passive voice sentences.

So, yeah. I hate passive voice.