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  1. #31
    He looked at her, dazed. A bright red mark dashed across his brow.
    It seems natural to write A bright red mark was slashed across his brow. But that's passive, and I think this author likes strong, active verbs. But dashed didn't work for me -- I saw a bright red mark running quickly across his brow. And I think it's just wrong.

    The first sentence is much less of a problem, but I don't see how it is grammatically correct or anything but a misplaced modifier. (He is dazed, not her.) It seems natural to write He was dazed, but that is a weak verb and sounds passive (even if it is not).

    So, when I read Stephen King, I see passive sentences that are most appropriate. As if they had to pass scrutiny. But maybe he goes too far in trying to have strong, active verbs.

    (This quote is from Revival.)
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  2. #32
    WF Veteran W.Goepner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    An important question. I am guessing you can write just fine without knowing about passive sentences -- just write the most easily understood sentence.

    But it helps to know your choices and underlying principals and tricks. Active sentences -- where the subject is doing the action, are usually easier to understand and grammatically simpler. So when you are editing and see a sentence that you don't quite like, you might notice that it is passive. Then you are already two steps towards changing it without having to use any creativity.

    Of course, there are some sentences which work better in passive, so you still have to use your sense of what sounds good.
    Now we are getting into my favorite/not so favorite aspect of it all. Because I am not familiar with the terms, I cannot tell the differences without asking. When writing, I write what I think. Often, not very well either. If I were to post some of my writing from a few years ago I would be accused of not editing, though I have attempted to do so many times. This is because of my lack of understanding what is wrong or right in the gramorical since. As I write more in these contests, I am getting better but do not understand why or how.

    Frustrations, frustrations, frustrations.

    I am beginning to think I would be better off writing for my own gratification and quit worrying about how it looks, because it would NEVER be published.

    But, it is in my nature to care and therefore, I continue to seek the advice of others.

    -edit-

    Did you all know gramorical is not a word and all forms of spell checkers want to change it to grammatical?
    Last edited by W.Goepner; November 7th, 2015 at 08:39 PM.
    My friends and family call me Bill, you may also.Hidden Content

    When people meet people,
    Potential Strangers, Acquaintances, Friends.

    When dogs meet people,
    Potential Friends, Acquaintances, Strangers.

    I would rather be the Dog.

    It takes only,
    A second to meet,
    A moment to know,
    A Lifetime to forget.


    A word without thought can destroy.
    Please remember to think before you speak.

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    He was dazed, but that is a weak verb
    Can you pinpoint what they mean by 'weak' verb?

    Quote Originally Posted by W.Goepner View Post
    I am beginning to think I would be better off writing for my own gratification and quit worrying about how it looks, because it would NEVER be published.
    Nobody's writing is perfect. It's why there are editors, copy editors, and proofreaders. If the likes of Stephen King and Ian Rankin use editors to get theirs up to publishing standard, then try not to be so hard on yourself: you're like every other writer who has doubts in their ability, but that doesn't mean your ability is in doubt.
    Last edited by Aquilo; November 7th, 2015 at 12:44 PM.

  4. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Aquilo View Post
    Can you pinpoint what they mean by 'weak' verb?
    In He was dazed, was is a weak verb.

    It's not a passive sentence, but it resembles a passive sentence. I am guessing King does not care about the precise definition of passive versus active. And I can't see why he would -- for writing purposes, it does not make much difference whether The car was crushed is passive or active.
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  5. #35
    WF Veteran W.Goepner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquilo View Post
    Nobody's writing is perfect. It's why there are editors, copy editors, and proofreaders. If the likes of Stephen King and Ian Rankin use editors to get theirs up to publishing standard, then try not to be so hard on yourself: you're like every other writer who has doubts in their ability, but that doesn't mean your ability is in doubt.
    I know, I know. I get frustrated from time to time. It is difficult, trying to put together words and story-line, while trying to keep the balance of grammar and punctuation. On top of, keeping other thoughts from diverting you to other areas and stories.

    At this time I am trying to figure out how to bring my mind to a calmer state. so it would be easier to focus on one subject.
    My friends and family call me Bill, you may also.Hidden Content

    When people meet people,
    Potential Strangers, Acquaintances, Friends.

    When dogs meet people,
    Potential Friends, Acquaintances, Strangers.

    I would rather be the Dog.

    It takes only,
    A second to meet,
    A moment to know,
    A Lifetime to forget.


    A word without thought can destroy.
    Please remember to think before you speak.

  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    In He was dazed, was is a weak verb.

    It's not a passive sentence, but it resembles a passive sentence. I am guessing King does not care about the precise definition of passive versus active. And I can't see why he would -- for writing purposes, it does not make much difference whether The car was crushed is passive or active.
    Ah, sorry, do you know why they call it a weak verb?

    Quote Originally Posted by W.Goepner View Post
    I know, I know. I get frustrated from time to time. It is difficult, trying to put together words and story-line, while trying to keep the balance of grammar and punctuation. On top of, keeping other thoughts from diverting you to other areas and stories.

    At this time I am trying to figure out how to bring my mind to a calmer state. so it would be easier to focus on one subject.
    Yep. Write first, worry later.

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Aquilo View Post
    Ah, sorry, do you know why they call it a weak verb?
    I meant it in a writerly way. As one website said: "Strong verbs are verbs that are active, vivid, specific, and familiar." I didn't even know about the grammar definition.

    A novel feeling ambushed Catherine: pity.

    Catherine was ambushed by a novel feeling: pity.
    Which version is better?
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  8. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    I meant it in a writerly way. As one website said: "Strong verbs are verbs that are active, vivid, specific, and familiar." I didn't even know about the grammar definition.
    *Nods* it's where it can get confusing for writers, because weak verbs technically describe regular verb usage in grammatical terms (walk, walked, walking) v strong verbs: irregular verbs, arise, arose, arisen)), so if a website says 'weak' verbs, and a writer looks the term up, the risk is that the writer will see regular verbs as a problem, not that the writing itself just isn't impacting as well as it should be. "Was' is a strong verb in technical terms: irregular in that it changes form: Be (infinitive) Was/were (past) been (part participle).

    A novel feeling ambushed Catherine: pity.

    Catherine was ambushed by a novel feeling: pity.
    I think that would depend more on author choice here, whether they want to highlight 'A novel feeling' first or 'Catherine'. But personal preference is the passive.

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