How to Recognize and Correct Passive Voice in Creative Writing

The majority of authors are aware that stories should be written in an active voice rather than a passive one. Hearing this advice, though, and understanding how and why you should (typically) change your passive phrases to active ones, are two very different things. To select the passive phrase that is perfect for your piece, you must be aware of its benefits, drawbacks, and impacts.

An Outline Of Passive Voice

Passive Voice According to Grammar Guides

When the subject of the sentence is acted upon rather than doing an action, a passive voice is generated. This appears to be:

  • Water was spilling out of the toilet.
  • Streamers had been used to adorn the park.

However, not everyone is aware of the benefits of doing so or how to do it. Your storey will go more slowly and sound duller if you use passive voice. Once you become familiar with it, you can switch from passive to active voice when speaking.

In this line, the toilet is not doing the activity of overflowing. Instead, the water is affecting it. Additionally, the park is not doing any decorating. Passive voice is produced in this fashion by adding words like “is/was,” “be/been,” and “-ing” terms after a verb like “was.”

Definition of Extended Passive in Creative Writing

Other techniques for making a sentence passive in creative writing include beginning an action or describing a character’s emotions to the reader. This form of passive voice is produced by words like “starting/beginning” and “feeling/felt.” These appear as follows:

  • Jim began to chase Fluffy on foot.

Jim simply began to run, not doing the running action.

  • Sarah was depressed.

Here, the passive voice tells rather than demonstrates. The line simply informs the reader that Sarah is depressed rather than portraying her in any way. This kind of passive language reveals passive thinking in writing. When they ought to be working to give their reader a more in-depth experience, the author is content to simply record the storey.

Define Active Voice

The preferable phrasing is active voice, which refers to the subject of the sentence doing the action by every best essay writing service in USA. You can change the passive language in the following cases to active phrasing:

  • Water overflowed from the toilet.
  • Streamers decorated the park.
  • Jim ran after Fluffy.
  • Tears welled in Sarah’s eyes.

Take note of how the verbs in these new sentences are more active and descriptive. As opposed to the passive versions, they create a more precise, detailed image. Eliminating the passive words was all I needed to do to give these lines additional impact.

Your Pace Is Slowed By Passive Voice

By adding extra words that don’t add to the reader’s experience, passive phrasing using words like “began,” “was,” or “had been” slows the pace of your storey. Was is a meaningless word. Was probably doesn’t evoke any form of mental image when I say it alone. The word “begin” is equivalent. Use more of those particular, vivid, and colourful phrases and less of the empty ones since the other words in the sentence are what the reader will use to imagine and take action.

When you read the storey too literally through the eyes of your character, the pace also slows down. You don’t need to state things like “Sally heard a loud crash” or “Timmy watched his paper boat sink” when you are writing in the first, third, or second person because your reader will understand that they are experiencing the storey from a particular character’s point of view. You can omit those words by writing “Bang!” or “The paper boat sank,” respectively.

Avoid using unnecessary or meaningless words in passive voice to accidentally down the pace of your storey (Caitlin Berve, 2019). Only deliberately slow down. Do a word search for “was,” “began,” or any other passive words you frequently use if you want to identify them. If you tend to unduly filter your storey via the eyes of your character, try searching for the words “heard” or “saw” as well. To pick up the pace and tighten your writing, rephrase those sentences.

Readers are distanced from characters and actions through passive phrasing.

However, not everyone is aware of the benefits of doing so or how to do it so they just hire Essay Help in San Diego. Your storey will go more slowly and sound duller if you use passive voice. Once you become familiar with it, you can switch from passive to active voice when speaking.

When you isolate your reader and characters from the action, events, and environment of your novel by using the lengthy creative writing passive phrase, such as “started to run” or “felt,” you lose their attention. Rarely do people begin anything and finish it. When you state a character started to do something, you’re implying that they were stopped mid-action and didn’t finish it. Additionally, you’re including a pointless extra word. As a result, the character seems less connected to the action, almost as if you, the author, haven’t made your character a part of it. The reader is further removed from the storey because of this distance.

The “heard/saw” filter also creates a barrier between you and your reader. You’re making the reader watch the character hear “Bang” rather than letting them hear it themselves. By enabling your reader to hear “Bang!” instead of “heard,” you may draw them into your storey.

In contrast to most other forms of passive phrasing, telling your reader what a character feels has the issue of utilising too few words, or not enough. This is so because passive thought is much more prevalent here than passive voice. Felt is a general word that frequently indicates careless writing. Instead of describing your character’s emotions to the reader, show them in action. What does their sadness look like? How does it feel physically inside of them? How does the feeling influence their choices? Telling puts the reader at a remove from the storey since it doesn’t provide them with enough details to establish a complete mental image. You’re passing up important chances to enhance your character. It speaks a lot about a person’s character and self-control in how they perceive and process emotion.

Students and employees typically lose motivation when they have a lot of tasks or work to perform (eazyresearchwp, 2020). When the author is separating himself from their writing, passive voice and phrase can emerge. When writing a challenging scenario or about a subject that makes you uneasy or about which you don’t know much, you could unconsciously want to distance yourself from that scene. This frequently necessitates the use of passive voice in place of action. Make sure these challenging sequences are in motion by checking them again.


eazyresearchwp (2020). How to Make Progress on Your Goals When You Feel Unmotivated? Caitlin Berve (2019). Passive Voice: How to Recognize and Fix It in Creative Writing.

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