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60.000 words

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earthshoes



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 213
Location: SW Missouri
60.000 words  Reply with quote  

Yay me. At least 15,000 of those have been written in the last few months when I finally committed to a regular schedule. I get up an hour or two earlier on the days I have to work. I've also borrowed a laptop which means that I can take it with me when I travel.

However, I am besieged by doubts that, as I recall, hit me about this same period of time with the last book. All the normal ones--is this any good? Am I wasting my time? And so on. Those pass or I ignore them or I confide them in e-mails to another friend that writes and he patiently tells me to push on and makes lots of other encouraging noise (Hi John!). And I do.

However, the ongoing concern is learning to write in third person. The first book was written in first person, which was a lot easier, but didn't demand as much from me. The contrast is like writing by flashlight, versus writing with all the lights on. In first person, I can only see what the character does, which means that I could ignore a lot of the scenery, didn't have to worry as much about character development and could concentrate on the action. Writing in third person demands a lot more thought and purposeful planning, mostly with respect to mechanics. This isn't all bad--I've learned a lot. This book may also simply be relegated to the "learning experience" shelf when I'm done with it, but we'll see.

My question (sorry--took a while to get to it) is this: when writing in third person how do you avoid the passive language? This may sound simple enough to you, but for some reason, I'm having to go back and edit it out almost daily--especially in what should be disturbing scenes. For some reason, this is never an issue with my short stories or flash fiction or poetry, if getting published in "okay" places is any indication that I'm doing something right.

Is there a trick of the trade that I'm missing?
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Post Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:46 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
Tal



Joined: 21 May 2004
Posts: 1692
Location: Not Massachusetts
 Reply with quote  

Earthshoes - I'm not sure I follow you - could put a small sample in where you slipped into passive?

On a side note: Good for you! I've fallen off the bandwagon on writing. Oh hell the bandwagon backed over me and then drove over me. Wink But I will be getting back on this weekend. Smile
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Post Fri Jul 29, 2005 7:46 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Regina



Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 952
Location: Northeast U.S
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Hey- It sounds more like its the passive langueage and not the actual perspective shift thats the issue.. Passive language is very difficult to rid yourself of .. . but its mostly an issue of grammar and sentence construction. My advice- just write the draft. Then in the next draft go through and get rid of extra words or things like two descriptors in a row,


avoid stuff like , He was walking. and use He walked to make it more active and direct...


Actually eliminating as many "was" statements as possible will help tremendously, but as this is picky stuff- i still say finish the draft qand then go over it again later.

Post Fri Jul 29, 2005 8:41 am   View user's profile Send private message
knikkki



Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 3145
Location: Davis, CA
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i have the same problem! It's frustrating, but really is easier to catch after the fact when you go back and read it and realize half your sentences start the same way.
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Post Fri Jul 29, 2005 10:29 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Regina



Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 952
Location: Northeast U.S
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lol

The last time through on rewrites I realized I had one character that was introduced as having his head in his hands in about %75 of his scenes.

Post Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:22 pm   View user's profile Send private message
palmer



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1324
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Regina wrote:
Hey- It sounds more like its the passive langueage and not the actual perspective shift thats the issue.. Passive language is very difficult to rid yourself of .. . but its mostly an issue of grammar and sentence construction. My advice- just write the draft. Then in the next draft go through and get rid of extra words or things like two descriptors in a row,


avoid stuff like , He was walking. and use He walked to make it more active and direct...


Actually eliminating as many "was" statements as possible will help tremendously, but as this is picky stuff- i still say finish the draft qand then go over it again later.


"Was" statements are not always passive. The one you use is, I think, a progressive tense.

active voice: He threw the ball.
passive voice: The ball was thrown by him.

Picking nits.

Earthshoes -- Hi Mary! -- I don't think there's any reason why 3rd person should pose pasive voice problems, in particular. It's just a glitch you've fallen into. Correcting it on a case by case basis should extinguish the habit, I think.

Post Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:34 pm   View user's profile Send private message
chris
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
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Regina wrote:
lol

The last time through on rewrites I realized I had one character that was introduced as having his head in his hands in about %75 of his scenes.



There's a character like that in the second Reanimator film, but it's not an expression.

Post Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:55 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
earthshoes



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 213
Location: SW Missouri
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Thanks everybody. I guess I'll keep pushing on and try not to edit too much until the end.

I may post a para or two later on and see if it's a real problem, or a lack of confidence. I just read through the first couple of chapters and everything there is fairly tight. John may be right (he often is). Perhaps it's just a habit I've fallen into recently.

LOL Regina! Thanks for sharing that. Very Happy
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Post Fri Jul 29, 2005 7:06 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
jaandlu



Joined: 17 Apr 2005
Posts: 4578
Location: Location, location, location.
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In another post Regina mentioned something about reading it aloud and seeing if it sounded right. I think thatís the best way to determine these things. Does it sound good to your ear. If so keep it, and screw the rules. In doing the audio for my book I found a lot of run-onís and mixed tenses and all sorts of mess. Good think I meant it to be that way or I might have been discouraged.

Mr Andlu
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Post Fri Jul 29, 2005 7:56 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
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