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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

#writingtips #writinghelp #passivewriting Turning Passive Writing into Active Writing By Janice Seagraves

Turning Passive Writing into Active Writing
By Janice Seagraves

Since I’ve been seeing a lot of passive writing in the critiques I’ve been doing here lately, I thought I’d do a vlog on passive writing.

What do I mean by passive writing?

Have you ever heard of show and don’t tell?

Passive example: Rose was mad.

What’s wrong with the above sentence? Not much really. It does what it’s supposed to do, it tells us Rose is mad. But it doesn’t show us that Rose is mad.

Active writing example: Rose slammed the door closed then stomped through the room. “That jerk!” Picking up a flower filled vase, she hurled it against the wall where it shatters.

Not a real great example but you get the idea. Notice I used the words: Stomped and Hurled. These are active verbs. I wanted to show action and anger even in my word choice.

Passive writing is that, passive. It doesn’t show the reader anything.

Have you noticed while watching a movie that when an actor portraying a character that is mad, he doesn’t just frown. He stomps, shouts and will nearly always breaks something. He’s showing us he’s angry. And in writing, we need to show it too.

Another example: Rose was sad and wanted to cry.
Again, there is nothing wrong with this sentence, but it’s still telling up and not showing us how the character Rose feels.
Active writing example: She closed the door and leaned on it. A tear worked its way past her control. She rubbed the wetness off her face with an impatient swipe of her fingers.
You can see here that I’m conveying the feeling of sadness without telling you she was sad.


Morgan isn’t expecting romance when she accompanies her friend for a week of skiing, but when she meets Jared all bets are off.
Jared has secrets that he doesn’t mind sharing with a special lady, and he hopes Morgan is that special someone. When his past and present collide it’s worse than he imagined, and he’s forced to fight for his life.
heart knot
A Sad Excerpt:

“Morgan, open up.” The woman pounded on the door again.

Unlocking the door, Morgan stepped back so her mother could enter. “Mom, this is Jared. The man
I’ve been seeing. Jared this is my mom, Alice Brookhaven.”

“Good day, Mrs. Brookhaven.” He held out his hand.

Instead of shaking his hand, she scanned him up and down. “No belt or tie.”

“Hardly anyone wears a belt and tie anymore.” Morgan snorted.

“What’s with his hair?” Alice stared. “Did you dye it that color?”

He ran his hand over his mane. “This is natural.”


Morgan frowned at her mother. “It’s a type of red, Mom. Lots of Scotts are redheaded.”
Alice gave her a sharp look before turning back to Jared. “Did one of your parents have hair that

“I donna remember.” His heart twisted at the thought of his parents.

“Are you an orphan?”

“Aye.” As the deep emptiness filled him, he slumped against the wall staring down. “That I am. I have not even a photo of me mum and da to know which of them had red hair.”

“Oh, sorry to hear that.” Mrs. Brookhaven stared at his bare feet then checked her daughter’s, too.

“Were you both naked when I called?”

“Huh?” Surprised at the accuracy of her guess, he baulked. He didn’t want to tread on dangerous ground with this woman. Jared glanced at Morgan for assistance.

Morgan threw her hands in the air. “Oh, Mom, you didn’t give us much notice.”

 Year of the Cat:


Debby said...

Great post. Lots of fuel for thought. Thanks so much
debby236 at gmail dot com from USA

Janet Lane Walters said...

Passive writing. One thing I always check is on my spell checker when I finish a book. Sometimes passive sentences work in a book but if I find my passive sentence count there goes above 2%, I go back and try to find places where i can bring the count down. Usually find I've written some of those It was kindof things.

Janice Seagraves said...

Hi Debbie,

You're welcome. :)

Hi Janet,

Great point.


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