Random Rants Writing Reflections

Passive No More

July 22, 2016

In my work as an editor, I constantly fight a battle against writers who produce content with excessive amounts of passive voice. And by excessive, I mean EXCESSIVE. I understand that using only active voice is sometimes difficult, especially when writing fiction, but good writing should blend both active and passive voice, with an emphasis on the active. You could certainly argue that writers are entitled to develop their own writing styles, and it’s up to readers to decide whether they love them or hate them. That would be true for writers who write for themselves and their fans, but that doesn’t get the writers off the hook who write commercially for clients who pay them for the content. When a client gives you guidelines that include writing in active voice, it’s your job to follow them. When you don’t, someone picks up the slack and makes the corrections. You guessed it. That would be the editor.

So that explains my mini rant on the excessive use of passive voice in the writing world these days. It’s really all about saving my own sanity. LOL. That’s why I can’t resist sharing hilarious writing memes like the one attached to this post. Enjoy!

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1 Comment

  • Reply Janet Buck July 23, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Annjeanette: I was so pleased to read the opening comments on your website. Salient & significant to those of who publish on a regular basis. I am widely-published poet, but just finished by debut novel, Samantha Stone: A Novel of Mystery, Memoir & Romance , to be released by Vine Leaves press Sept. 6th of this year. I took on a massive challenge by attempting to blend a murder mystery with memoir. I was invited to write this book after the publishing company asked to see more of my work. Samantha Stone started out as a short story (the mole hill turned into a mountain).

    I very much respect your “carriage & presence” in the lit world & plan to Google you a lot, but also sense that there is a great I could learn from you should you wish to take me on as a client. I am posting a below, so you know I am a serious writer…it’s not a hobby for me, but a lifeboat, I have coped with disability all my life, but that condition as turned from disability into immobility, which is torturing me, as I have always been very active despite the challenge of every step. Anyway, should you wish you reply, please do, as I am interested in getting second opinions on short stories & another novel. I have severe glaucoma, but continue to write, as the process is saving my life. In my bio, I have not listed the 4,000 publications & various awards, as many of them go back almost 20 years. Thank you for your time. I do hope you are interested in communicating to a deeper extent and/or establishing a professional relationship. Your advice makes perfect sense, so I suppose I crave more of it 🙂


    Janet Buck is a seven-time Pushcart Nominee & the author of four full-length collections of poetry. Buck’s most recent work is featured in The Birmingham Arts Journal, Antiphon, Offcourse, PoetryBay, Poetrysuperhighway, Misfit Magazine, Lavender Wolves, River Babble, The Danforth Review & other journals worldwide. Her latest print collection of verse, Dirty Laundry, is currently available at all fine bookstores. Buck’s debut novel, Samantha Stone: A Novel of Mystery, Memoir & Romance, will be released by Vine Leaves Press in September, 2016. Janet lives & writes in Southern Oregon—just hours away from Crater Lake, one of the seven wonders of the world.

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