Monday, July 30, 2007
Active Writing Vs. Passive
Friday morning I was in the final stretch to the finish line, printing chapters as I tweaked them. The ribbon stretched across the running track was in my sights. Then a writing friend to whom I'd sent my first two scenes wrote me. The horn sounded. I had to reverse my direction, make a pit stop. Little bits of telling and passive phrasing still resonated in the scenes. Phrases like "he watched . . ." Phrases we see often in books that are published, but it forces the reader out of the character's head and onto the sidelines, watching the character while he watches whatever. Instead of saying "as he watched the waves...," end the preceeding clause with a period. Start a new sentence that says, "The waves lapped at the shoreline." Much better. Gets the reader into the moment.
So, I'm in my pitstop right now, tweaking the first three chapters. Then I'll be cruising through the chapters I'd already gone through and printed before my friend's note came. I'm still hoping to mail this puppy out tomorrow, but realistically I may not make it until Wednesday. That afternoon I'm scheduled to have my picture taken for the church directory. If I've mailed the manuscript you can imagine the big smile I'll be flashing at the camera! But, the bottom line is this: I won't be mailing the manuscript anywhere until it's good and ready. A good story, told the best way possible in a way that honors God. After all, He's my editor, publisher and agent!