Day 24 – Revise Any Unnecessary Passive Voice

This is the continued saga of my foray into Janice Hardy’s Revise Your Novel in 31 Days at-home workshop (

Today is about revising any unnecessary instances of passive voice. In passive voice, the subject of the sentence GETS the action instead of DOING the action. Such as, “Bob was bitten by a zombie” vs. “The zombie bit Bob.”

Janice gives an extensive list of verbs you can search on to find these passive sentences. I found my red flag words were “by,” “were,” “have been,” and “had been.” Although I only found 5-10 instances of each of these words where I changed it to something active, that is still 5-10 times it would have been passive voice otherwise.

Results: This is a good way to become conscious of passive voice. Hopefully the next time I write something I will be more aware when I slip into non-active prose.

Take-Away Value:

Sometimes the passive voice is exactly the right thing for the sentence, so don’t feel you need to change every instance of it. Once your story becomes more active, your reader will be anxious to turn to the next page.

Passive voice is easy to slip into. Do you have trouble with this, like I sometimes do, or do you tend to stay in active voice when maybe you should slow it down?

See you on the next page.



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