Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Was, were, and that

I'm going through my MS doing finds on "was." I was careless a little. Every now and again I'd sneak one in because it's just easy, isn't it. But I found I've been a very lazy girl. Next I'll attack some other words that are considered Passive.

I'm not as overly concerned about using these words as I was when I belonged to a critique group. I haven't found a writer who doesn't brake every, so called, rule in the book.

After I've scoured my WIP, I'll go through one more time and look for passive sentences and paragraphs. It blows me away how many less words (how many less?) one uses without passive verbs.

I still haven't written the ending. Man oh man, what am I waiting for. Oh well, I'm making progress, but if I'm going to make my goal of ending it before April, I'd better make some headway.
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  1. "Was" used to be my biggest challenge. Now I'm to the point that sometimes I have to pause and leave the "was" because I'm trying too hard to remove it. A dozen in the entire novel is not cause for alarm!

  2. Honestly, this is only the second time that someone has told me that passive verbs are 'bad' to use in fiction writing. I don't use passive voice a lot (or at least I don't think so), but I never knew to avoid it until recently. Heck, I didn't even know what it was (...that was ironic). I don't even want to know how many oopsies I've made in the past, so I'm not going to try to figure it out. Oy vey.

  3. No way to avoid passive verbs, but there are a lot of areas that flow better without them and in some cases takes less words. It's a challenge to your literary skill. Is it an exercise in futility? Maybe. Go figure.

  4. Groan, I learn something new everyday! Thanks for the extra editing... LOL

  5. I found 192 instances of the word "look" and I thought I'd been so careful not to use it outside of dialog. Same with "walk" although I only had to get rid of 82 of those. "Was" was hard. And then there is the "adverb" edit, weeding out all those "ly" words. But (and this is embarrassing) I managed to cut out 6,000 words to get it under 100,000. Editing is an eye opener.