I was reminded today by my writer friend, Annie Jones, that the Passive Voice is something most authors deal with regularly—while being chased by zombies.
Need a definition? I borrowed this from ReadWriteThink:
A feature of sentences in which the subject performs the action of the verb and the direct object is the goal or the recipient: The mechanic fixed the car.
A feature of sentences in which the object or goal of the action functions as the sentence subject and the main verb phrase includes the verb to be and the past participle: The car was fixed by the mechanic.
In my opinion, some passive voice is allowed–called for, even. Reflecting on the past, setting the scene, basic description, adding a softer cadence to your flow, and providing background harmony provide necessary components of a book. But when you’re in the thick of things, when verbal jabs are flying or critical action is taking place, keep things active.
I’m working on the revisions of my next Big Sky Mavericks book, MONTANA HERO. In my defense, first drafts for me are all about learning who my characters are and what drives them in the story. I “see” things happening in my mind and record that action from the outside looking in–until I reach a place where the characters take over.
Here’s a scene I grabbed at random from Chapter 2.
The door was open. She knew the drill: sign in and take a seat. Just like in a doctor’s office. Which reminded her, Flynn had called in a few minutes before she left that he was taking a possible “broken ankle” to be X-rayed. He didn’t say who the victim was or how he came across the problem, since they hadn’t received a call.
The outer office door stood open. She knew the drill: sign in and take a seat–just like in a doctor’s office. Doctor. The word reminded her of Flynn’s call a few minutes earlier.
“Taking possible “broken ankle” to ER 4 X-ray,” he’d texted.
Who broke an ankle? Where did the accident take place? Why didn’t Dispatch get the call? Is my gung-ho new boss out recruiting victims?
A definite improvement, wouldn’t you agree?
I just printed Annie’s adorable meme to hang beside my desk as a reminder. Wish me luck.
Deb, actively working on her manuscript…while being chased by zombies…