Posts Tagged ‘Passive voice

18
Jan
12

Regurgitating Grammar Sites

Over the years, people have asked where do I brush up on my grammar? What really is passive voice, show not tell and where or where do you put the comma? Really does it matter?

Yes, it does. You really want an active voice, honesty pick up your favorite fiction books most of them if not all of the books are written in active voice, because let’s face it active voice is just so much more interesting.

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.  ~Anton Chekhov

Showing is just better than telling , because let’s face it we don’t want the author to tell us how the characters are felling. We want to see it on the page.

Commas?

Should we put it a comma before the “and” in a series or not… this is style. Each publisher has a different outlook on commas just as each author does. If all else fails… keep it consistent.  If you add a comma in a series before the “and” then make sure all series commas in your manuscript match.

But please oh please, make sure you place the commas in their proper grammatical location because as the picture dictates above, using a comma can save a life. 🙂

When you fall into questionable areas, here are my go-to, must have grammar sites:

We are all human, just trying to understand our language enough to share a fictional story with the world. Keep it consistent, follow your targeted publisher’s submission requirements and follow your gut. Stay tune for the next regurgitation thought of the day. Happy typing.

26
Jan
11

Regurgitation Wednesday… Passive Voice

Over the past five years that I’ve written, I’ve attented numerous workshops and conferences. Each Speaker has his/her twist on information that has been around for centuries…since the first cave drawings. I’m going to add my two cents into the mix.  I’m no means an expert, I just know what works for me. Most of the information I’m presenting is regurgitated from everyone who has spoken to me or I’ve read in the last few years.  No matter what you write,  some grammar issues never change.  When you submit, you want your MS as polished as you can get it.  Don’t worry, the editors and agents will give you more helpful hints to pull your MS up to the pedestal where it needs to be, but getting your foot into the door is key.

Content is supreme.  If your story has conflict, emotion, to die for characters, and you find the right person to love your baby then you’re golden.  But here are some tips that will make your novel a little more polished.

Passive voice.  This is about the style of your writing, your voice of the story.

Passive voice sentences are sentences that the verbs used aren’t in direct correlation with the subject of the sentence.  Most the times you can switch up the sentences make it mean the same but make the subject more active.  In doing so, your stories are stronger, more memorable and… in tune to what is on your bookshelves. 

According to Chicago Manual of Style: The passive voice is always formed by joining an inflected form of be (or, in colloquial usage, get) with the verb’s past participle.

Typically, you can pick out passive voice by searching your MS for the word “was” then looking to see if the word following ends in a “-ed”. Look for these verbs: is, are, am , was, were, has been, have been, had been, will be, will have been, being  followed by a past participle.

Here are examples that I’ve come across and ways to fix them:

He was tempted by her touch to move closer…. Her caress tempted him, drew him closer until he gazed deep into her eyes.

She was moved by the movie…. As the closing credit ran, she wiped the tears from her cheeks before the lights came up.  You could always say… The movie moved her to tears. But If you are going to tell the what’s happened, why not show it instead.

I was hit by a dodgeball…. The dodgeball hit me in the chest.

Houses were built……. The Andersens’s built houses.

 Stay tuned for next week. With another Regurgitated Thought.




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