As I continue to work on my NaNoWriMo book, I came to the realization that I use a lot of passive words. “He was talking” and “It was snowing” are some of the examples that I mean by passive words. Instead, I should be using “He talked” and “It snowed”. While it’s true that I’m working on a rewrite and there is still time to edit afterwards, I still don’t want to fall into a habit of using “was walking” in my writing.
A good advice for NaNoWriMo is to kill your inner editor and just write. It’s good advice but I’m not going to following that. I’ve found myself going back into my writing and looking for any signs of passive voice. Normally, I would never do this because I don’t have to time to edit. I need to write. However, this year, I’m a bit more confident in my ability to type up 50k words which is the only reason why I’m doing this. Words are coming easier this time around.
So far, I’ve hit my daily word count and have written more than the recommended daily word count amount to hit 50k words. Now, I know all about the passive voice and avoiding it but I still find myself using those types of words/ sentences. It mostly has to deal with the fact that I’m just trying to get everything down and I’m not thinking about how it’s been written.
To be honest, I feel like a part of me is trying to cut down on the amount of editing I have to do when I finish writing the book. So, it could be one or the other or both. Now, when I do edit, I’m not exactly looking for every instances of passive voice. That comes later. At the moment, I’m focused on “was looking” and “was walking” type of words because I feel like those are the ones that stick like a sore thumb.
I also found that rereading what I wrote the day before helps me, not only get inspiration for the day, but also with editing. I read the words aloud and when it doesn’t sound right and if it doesn’t make sense, I go in and make the writing a bit clearer. If I do find passive words in there, I change that as well. However, I don’t edit all the time. If there is something I need to double check or research, I leave a comment to myself. I really try to avoid using the internet because one click and then I’m wasting my time ‘researching’ instead of writing.
Most importantly, I do know myself and the habits, whether good or bad, that I have. So, I try to manage the bad habits like ‘researching’ when I should be writing. So far, I think I have enough self control to only change the passive words that I find. I haven’t convinced myself yet that I need to go back and change a few scenes but that can change. I’ll be vigilante.
Kassandra Carrillo received her B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Houston. She enjoys writing dark paranormal fiction. However, she has dabbled in writing fantasy as well, science fiction, western, short stories, poetry, and script writing but she prefers writing novels. In her spare time, Kassandra edits, proofreads, and copy-edits college essays and writes content for Gameway (ANDi Games Ltd).