Tink...tink...tink...anyone out there? Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley - Author - editor and slightly crazy - ask anyone in my family. I hope to use this blog to talk about writing, editing and whatever pops in my head. Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Writing Down the Bones: Passive Voice

The Passive voice. The he was talking instead of he talked. That to be verb is a pesky little thing and most of us don't even know we're using it. There is nothing wrong with it but a lot can slow down the pace of your story.

Once it was pointed out to me I started watching out for it. I actually used to go through chapter by chapter and highlight all the was's I had in a chapter and looked for a new way to write the sentence to get rid of the to be verb. That helped me remove a lot of them and taught me how to avoid them in the first place.

This is what I mean:

I was sitting next to my sister while my uncle was telling a story about my grandmother. Grandma was going through menopause and had been doing some goofy things. The story was about how she threw a plate of spaghetti at him, had it hit the wall and then she demanded to know how it got there. This was a new story and we laughed at the idea. I was glad I never saw that side of her.

The above paragraph has five sentences yet has six was's which I highlighted. Now I'm going to tell the same story again, but this time pull out those was's.

I sat next to my sister as my uncle told a story about my grandmother. One we'd never heard before. While going through menopause she did some goofy things. Her and my uncle argued in the kitchen and in a fit of anger she threw a full plate of spaghetti at his head, narrowly missing it. The spaghetti smacked against the wall. Five seconds later she berated him for the mess. I laughed as I silently thanked God I never saw that side of her.

Same basic paragraph, but to get around the was's I changed the sentences, making it more active. There are now seven sentences and no was's.

There is nothing wrong with the passive voice and sometimes you just can't avoid it but the more you remove the faster paced your story will be.

Barb:)






Friday, July 19, 2013

Shameless Promoting: I'm at Tina Donahue's blog today

Here;s a quick note to let you know I'm at Tina Donahue's blog today - I posted about writing - it is a career or a hobby.

Barb's at my site today - http://www.tinadonahue.com/blog/ - giving you a sneak peek into her awesome romance Hesitant Desire. I adore the cover!
Please drop by to learn more about this great book, and leave a comment to show your love. :)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Random Thoughts:Getting back in the Groove

It's always hard for me to get back into the writing groove when I go on vacation. It's the time I step away from everything, including my books. I need to do that every so often so I don't burn out or hit writers block.

I went to see my sister for four days. I knew I wouldn't get much writing done but I brought my laptop anyway. Maybe I could squeeze a little time in somewhere along the way. The fact is I didn't even take my laptop out of the bag. Not once. But four days later I knew I'd have to get back to the grind.

It's so easy to let other things get in the way when you stop writing. Even if it 's just a day or two. There was a lot for me to use as an excuse I returned. There were e-mails from all the loops, all the junk mail that had piled up on the counter, the dreaded pile of laundry from the trip. It would be so simple to focus on catching up to forget about writing for a few more days. But I'm afraid if I do that then days will turn into weeks then months.

So one of the first things I do is pull my laptop out and turn it on. I might spend more time than I should deleting e-mails from my loops but it's up and running and those loops pertain to writing so I'm working on writing even if I'm not working on my stories. I also open my manuscripts up. Even if all I do is reread what I had written before I left I'm working on focusing on my books again. I do try to write something. It might take me a day or two to get back to writing for several hours a day but I do get there.

I love to write. It's a wonderful gift given to me and I don't want to ignore it so each time I take a break I make sure that break doesn't stop me forever.