Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How To Write in Active Voice

Much advice for new writers includes the admonition to: Use Active Voice. This advice basically calls for replacing He was happy with his present with His present made him happy. However, much of this advice stops here without clear instructions showing what habits to develop to avoid passive voice.

In order to avoid voice, a writer must become skilled in finding a variety of subjects to write about. For example, unskilled writers make this common mistake: when a scene includes a single character, they use that character as the subject of every sentence. Skilled writers naturally employ a variety of subjects.
Alban inclined his head and turned, a few long-legged strides taking him down an alley. The last step became a leap, air and light imploding around him as his form shifted. Crimson light colored alabaster skin as he reached the rooftop and disappeared from Margrit's sight.
Evening sunlight shone a brilliant gold, making Margrit's eyes ache as she squinted against it. The bitter aftertaste of bile hung at the back of her throat and her stomach churned, making her eyes water at the acidity. She clutched the soft sealskin against her chest, running before she was even aware she was moving. Escape seemed paramount.

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