Jenny Knipfer Author

Jenny shares her books, inspiration, and thoughts on life and writing.

As I progress in my writing journey, I find variants in the process and differences of opinion when it comes to what other people consider good writing to be. Even the technical aspects have some gray areas according to what rule book you follow.

Basically, much of writing boils down to personal preference and the author’s voice, but still some discernible factors can make a work of writing shine or not. As I strive ahead to learn more about my craft, I found I tended to use a lot of passive sentence structure. What does that entail? Well, the earmark of a passive sentence relies on a “verb of be”: am, are, is, was, were, been, and being. Sometimes I find these unavoidable, but I work towards the goal of using these less and less. For example, in the previous sentence I wanted to write, “I am working”, but I thought of a better verb to use–work.

In my third person writing, I used a lot of “was.” When I wrote first person present tense, “is” crept in a little too much. Now I see how overused these “verbs of be” are (there I go again) in other books. I can hardly read a book which hosts this kind of writing, because I trained my eye to search for these words in my own stories. Was can be worked out of a sentence and replaced with a much stronger verb. I aspire to rid myself of these types of crutches, so my writing can be stronger.

It is good to have goals. (a poor sentence) Goals establish a drive to keep us going. (much better, it uses a strong verb and more specific words instead of using the general word “good”) I challenge you to set a goal for yourself, whether it pertains to writing or something else. Hone your craft. Work at it. The effort pays in personal satisfaction when you strive for your best.

Blessings on your journey.

2 thoughts on “Black and White or Gray?

  1. Fly high says:

    Wow , beautiful insight ….I will work on it too ….thanks for sharing .

  2. Thank you. I realize some writers have different view points about passive sentence structure, but this makes sense to me. I strive to adopt a more active voice in my writing. Best wishes on your journey.

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