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  1. King Arthur

    King Arthur Banned

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    Writing only in active voice?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by King Arthur, Mar 11, 2016.

    I'm trying to only write in an active voice (barring situations where passive is mandatory) and it doesn't work. It just feels off, and I'm pretty sure I hate it?
     
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Passive voice can be done well. Passive voice is a problem primarily when authors fall into it inadvertently, without realizing it. If you choose to write in that manner and can do it effectively, great.
     
  3. King Arthur

    King Arthur Banned

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    An example sentence from my novel:


    His thoughts were interrupted by a cough. He looked up.

    A cough interrupted his thoughts. He looked up.
     
  4. NiallRoach

    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    Problems are caused by the passive voice when it's used by the author in places when the sentence would be strengthened by an active construction.

    The former is preferred by me.
     
  5. thirdwind

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    This is one of those times guidelines such as "show don't tell" or "don't use passive voice" can be harmful. Every style/technique has its place. In this case, the emphasis may be changed depending on whether you use active voice or passive voice. My suggestion is to see how the sentences work together in a passage. If you think the passage flows well, then all is good. Otherwise, try rearranging a few things and/or play with the sentence structure. The results can be amazing.
     
  6. King Arthur

    King Arthur Banned

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    Yeah, writers are by and large huge hypocrites.
    "Show don't tell"
    And that done...
    "You show too much, make it more terse"
     
  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    They're both fine. I'd need to see the surrounding context to see which I preferred, but without context, they're both fine.
     
  8. NiallRoach

    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    Funny how a group made up of diverse people which is subjective by definition results in conflicting advice even treated as a homogenous glob.

    Most people accept that "Show don't tell" is a flawed piece of advice, and that it should not be taken as gospel. In fact, no writing advice should be taken so.

    Secondly, you're not endearing people to help you by insulting them. This is the second thread of yours in which I've seen you do so, and it's put you pretty high on my list of posters to avoid.
     
  9. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    So... don't do that.
     
    ChickenFreak and BayView like this.

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