Hi everyone, I started research for a fiction novel some months ago. Scifi to be specific. I wanted to ask some specific things about active vs passive voice which haven't been covered in some topics I searched through here already on the subject. I am aware of all the stated pros of the active voice. The cons of the passive voice. I had 16 pages of a particular chapter I was writing, an important chapter which introduces my 'hero' and his guile. When I did a word search for 'was' I found 55 instances of it in the 16 pages. I was like oh no! They say avoid passive voice. And that most new writiers fall into the trap of writing in the passive voice. So I went through it and eventually replaced the passiveness with good verbs etc making it almost entirely active. I took out all the 'were' too. Then I went and looked through a couple 'best sellers' varied too. I looked at James Patterson, William Shatner, and some others, and I noticed they used 'was' quite a lot, where there was a lot of narration. Probably not as much as 55 on 16 pages like me. But still quite a bit and I found I could re-word their sentences to be active. So getting to the point shortly, I didn't find their style or prose 'weak' or uninteresting or bland. Is it that most readers won't even notice passive voice once the story, the style/prose of the 'action' is good? Strong characters, great dialogue between them, and great story, with mystery, suspense, tension etc forms part of an ideal novel right? Can passive voice use actually make it bad? I'm thinking no. I am leaning more towards, if your book is overall weak, passive voice makes it worse, but if it's overall (all factors considered) a very engaging book, that passive voice use makes no difference to the reader. Hell I wasn't even aware of passive/active voice until I started taking instruction on writing. What do you think on the subject? Do we place too much emphasis on something a reader won't notice in a good book? But which he will in a bad book? Should I or others go for all active? Is passive necessary or just easier in narrative passages? Is it really not that bad anyway when you are conveying nothing urgent in a scene? Could I go wrong by trying to be active 90% in my prose? It's got me feeling like I should immediately edit out all passive, when I am editing drafts of my chapters. Obsessive almost. Everytime I write 'was' now. I stop and re think the whole sentence. Given what I've told you about modern novelists from James P. to Shatner, what's the real deal in it? I should probably ask, if I don't have someone or SOMETHING doing something to something else, then I am free to use 'to be' as that doesn't have anything to do with being passive correct? Maybe I am getting confused when I see the use of 'was' in those author's books I mentioned that its passive, when in fact, it isn't. An instructor just said to me, go through the chapter and remove all mentions of 'was' and 'were' your prose will be better for it. So have I infact removed 'was' and 'were' from sentences that were not even passive to begin with? Evaluate these for passive. Are they passive? "It was great to be home" "There is no place like home" Of the below examples which sentence might you say illustrates the sorrow of the person better? Is the first one passive? "He bit his lip. It was all he could do not to cry." "He bit his lip. The pain helped to hold back his tears"