Writing in Passive Voice or Active Voice



My topic today, as I prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo is how to write in active voice and avoid passive voice.

I still find myself puzzled by active vs passive voice, so these sites are as much for my reference as for yours.

I have two links for you. Both are very good at explaining the difference.

The Passive Voice

“… active (The executive committee approved the new policy) or

passive (The new policy was approved by the executive committee)”

Active/Passive Verb Forms

Active: “[Thing doing action] + [verb] + [thing receiving action]”

Passive: “[Thing receiving action] + [be] + [past participle of verb] + [by] + [thing doing action]”

This is active voice: The swimmer reached the end of the pool.

This is passive voice: The end of the pool was reached by the swimmer.

If you are thinking of participating in Camp NaNoWriMo best of luck to you! I am ready to begin tomorrow, although I may start a few hours early.


Are You Coming to Camp?




Camp NaNoWriMo starts in just four days! I am going to try and meet my goals this time. While I’ve had success doing November’s NaNo every year beginning in 2012, I have failed miserably at meeting any goals I’ve set for Camp.

The nice thing about Camp is that you set your own goals, whether it be a word count, or finishing a draft or what have you.

My goal is to complete an autobiography. While I’ve worked out a rough copy, I intend to ignore it and start at the beginning of my life.

Camp is free, as are all the other Camps and November’s NaNoWriMo. Strictly run on donations. If you sign up, look for the Forum and also the option to join a cabin of fellow writers. Additionally, there are some nice products available for sale. The money supports NaNo.


Writing in First Person


I have a bit more to post on writing style. Here we have two options about our friend, Shelley. Remember, she walked into the quilting shop and was surprised at the selection of fabrics?

Now Shelley returns, with a closer view for us of her personality and what she wants to find in the shop.

First person past tense – earlier today or even yesterday or last week

I pushed the door open. I walked into the store and looked around. It was amazing, I thought, how many different fabrics the little shop carried.
Why, there were likely a hundred or more. How would I ever choose just a few?
The quilt I planned to make was going to be a special one and I wanted to find
just the right colors. I walked up to the saleslady and smiled at her.

First person present tense – in the here and now

I push the door open. I walk into the store and look around. It is amazing, I think, how many different fabrics the little shop carries. Why, there are likely a hundred or more. How will I ever choose just a few? The quilt I plan
to make is a special one and I want to find just the right colors. I walk up to the saleslady and smile at her.

It can be easy to slip up and start to write out of the past or out of the present tense. Practice and careful editing can help to avoid the pitfalls for us.


World Poetry Day


March 21st is World Poetry Day!

One of my favorite sites to visit and read poetry is Representative Poetry Online.

They offer English and French language poetry over a period of some 1400 years.

There’s little you need, in order to write a poem, although a knowledge of types of poems can help.

Try you hand at writing free verse!

One of my favorite poems is by Alfred Noyes.


SHERWOOD in the twilight, is Robin Hood awake?
Grey and ghostly shadows are gliding through the brake;
Shadows of the dappled deer, dreaming of the morn,
Dreaming of a shadowy man that winds a shadowy horn.

Robin Hood is here again: all his merry thieves
Hear a ghostly bugle-note shivering through the leaves,
Calling as he used to call, faint and far away,
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.

Merry, merry England has kissed the lips of June:
All the wings of fairyland were here beneath the moon;
Like a flight of rose-leaves fluttering in a mist
Of opal and ruby and pearl and amethyst.

Merry, merry England is waking as of old,
With eyes of blither hazel and hair of brighter gold:
For Robin Hood is here again beneath the bursting spray
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.

Love is in the greenwood building him a house
Of wild rose and hawthorn and honeysuckle boughs;
Love it in the greenwood: dawn is in the skies;
And Marian is waiting with a glory in her eyes.

Hark! The dazzled laverock climbs the golden steep:
Marian is waiting: is Robin Hood asleep?
Round the fairy grass-rings frolic elf and fay,
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.

Oberon, Oberon, rake away the gold,
Rake away the red leaves, roll away the mould,
Rake away the gold leaves, roll away the red,
And wake Will Scarlett from his leafy forest bed.

Friar Tuck and Little John are riding down together
With quarter-staff and drinking-can and grey goose-feather;
The dead are coming back again; the years are rolled away
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.

Softly over Sherwood the south wind blows;
All the heart of England hid in every rose
Hears across the greenwood the sunny whisper leap,
Sherwood in the red dawn, is Robin Hood asleep?

Hark, the voice of England wakes him as of old
And, shattering the silence with a cry of brighter gold,
Bugles in the greenwood echo from the steep,
Sherwood in the red dawn, is Robin Hood asleep?

Where the deer are gliding down the shadowy glen
All across the glades of fern he calls his merry men;
Doublets of the Lincoln green glancing through the May,
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day;

Calls them and they answer: from aisles of oak and ash
Rings the Follow! Follow! and the boughs begin to crash;
The ferns begin to flutter and the flowers begin to fly;
And through the crimson dawning the robber band goes by.

Robin! Robin! Robin! All his merry thieves
Answer as the bugle-note shivers through the leaves:
Calling as he used to call, faint and far away,
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.




Yay! My book of short stories is now available on Amazon!

Find “Thief” here.

Tips to Sell Your Book

Today, I would like to post a little about selling books. What are some ways that we authors can sell? I know, I know, I’m not, like, in the top one hundred when it comes to book sales, but I have some ideas to share.

  1. Blogs are freely available and you can chose plans from free to a fair bit of change. WordPress is my favorite.
  2. Website. A website on a free hosting provider is one way to reach the public. Some free hosting providers are a. Weebly and b. Wix
  3. Facebook. Is anyone not on Facebook?
  4. Tumblr offers lots of options for creativity.
  5. Pinterest  lets you pin anything off the web. I like to use it for my story ideas.
  6. A more recent addition to this list is Medium
  7. Offer a sale on Amazon if that’s where you’ve published.
    This helps to get your book out there and may give you some (hopefully good!) reviews.
  8. Instagram – While I have not used this many authors like it
  9. I nearly forgot Twitter!

I hope that some of these suggestions will be of use to you. All of the above sites can be used free, which may be a consideration for us budding writers.

For a few dollars more, some offer more bells and whistles, which are always nice to have I suppose.



Past Tense/Present Tense




I have just published a collection of short stories on Amazon. The book will be available in print and as an E-book. I will post the URL when it is posted on Amazon.

Past Tense and Present Tense

I belong to a number of sites where writers post their works and ask for feedback. I have often noticed when a new author tells a story, there is a flip back and forth from past to present tense. I have found myself doing this occasionally and have to watch when I edit to be aware of doing this very thing.

Past Tense – An Example

Shelley pushed the door open. She walked into the store and looked around. It was amazing, she thought, how many different fabrics the little shop carried. Why, there were likely a hundred or more. How would she ever choose just a few? The quilt she planned to make was going to be a special one and she wanted to find just the right colors. She walked up to the saleslady and smiled at her.

Present Tense – An Example

Shelley pushes the door open. She walks into the store and looks around. It is amazing, she thinks, how many different fabrics the little shop carries. Why, there are likely a hundred or more. How will she ever choose just a few? The quilt she plans to make is going to be a special one and she wants to find just the right colors. She walks up to the saleslady and smiles at her.

I hope this helps in your writing. The present tense lends a feeling of immediacy to the story, while the past tense is a bit more laid back.


Well, That Was Unexpected




Yesterday I came close to falling off my chair. Really. I’d gone to the family doctor and was sitting in the waiting room with my husband (he had an appointment). After about 20 minutes, I looked around and saw a sort of bright colored netting across my field of vision. I told my husband I thought I was going to faint. I guess at that moment I did faint though I leaned backward to the wall rather than forward to the floor.

As I came to, I was surrounded by concerned people. A young pregnant Asian girl had come over right away and another woman dialed 911. (My husband told me this later).

The family doctor came into the room as I regained consciousness. He took my pulse and asked some questions like “Do you know where you are?” which I answered correctly.

I was taken in a wheel chair to an examination room and the doctor said he’d be in in a few minutes. He gave me a glass of water. At the same time he returned, two EMS workers arrived and introduced themselves. They asked some questions and then took me out to the ambulance where I was hooked up to a heart monitor, pulse and blood pressure as well.

They joked and kept me amused as they went about their work. The worker who took my blood test for sugar told me that when he poked my finger, it didn’t hurt him a bit.

The other fellow suggested that I must have thought if I fainted, I’d get my husband into the exam room sooner, for the appointment.

During the testing, they discovered that I was very dehydrated and I was given an IV for that. I asked if I had a choice between cream soda and Pepsi, which made them laugh.


They asked a lot of questions while the IV was running, about my health issues and so on. I was offered a ride to the hospital to be checked further or I could go home.

As my low blood pressure stabilized, the IV got me hydrated and my heart, which had slowed, increased in rate to normal, I said that I would go home and drink water.

I have been drinking a *lot* of water and other fluids since this happened, and I sure don’t want it to ever happen again. Barring some other cause, I suspect I hadn’t been drinking enough the last few days. I feel so much better today that I must have been tending towards dehydration for a while.

It happens in older people and I will be 64 in June. The workers said that they see a lot of people dehydrated in the summer, especially during marathons and so on.

I wish that I could remember some of the other jokes that the two attendants told, but I was too out of it for a while to remember them now.

It was a life experience. I had never been inside an ambulance before. So there’s something off my bucket list!

This post was totally off topic regarding writing, although it may help some writer to come up with a wise cracking EMS worker and his/her job.

Of course, with the sort of work these people do a good sense of humor is likely imperative.

I was touched when I found out how the strangers in the waiting room responded to my plight. And how quickly help arrived, and how nice my family doctor was through the worst part of it all.

There are good people in this world, aren’t there?


Using WordPress


I have a short message today. A longer blog post will follow soon.

I have been with WordPress for some time now, and they are so worth using!

If  you want to try them out – basic service, which is more than adequate for most bloggers – is free! Please follow my link to sign up. I will get a small sum if you become a WordPress user!

WordPress Signup

Look at it this way….since basic service is free, you can try it out for nothing. I use a premium service now because I was so impressed with their hosting and the editing dashboard.

End of public service announcement!

As I mentioned, another blog post will follow soon!