Greetings Faithful Readers:

Zombies In my quest to further my writing abilities, as well as improving my editing skills, I have taken into consideration the age-old struggle of finding all my passive voice material and transform them into active voice.

What is the difference between passive voice and active voice you might ask? Well, it’s all about the subject. Is your subject performing an action, or is it merely letting everything happen to it?

Ask yourself, “is ‘the man barricading up his house’? or ‘was his house barricaded’?” If you want an active voice, then your subject should be the one doing the action: i.e. the man should be barricading the house.

Just like ‘I am writing this blog’, the ‘blog is not simply being written’.

Why should we care?

But why do we want an active voice instead of passive? What makes passive sentences so disliked? I asked these very same questions myself (mostly because I didn’t want to have to go back and find and edit all my passive voice sentences).

Simply put, active voice can be more concise or direct, and tends to be a stronger sentence choice. Whereas the passive voice can be unnecessarily wordy or awkward. However, at times a passive voice is the right choice: i.e. if there is a mystery about our subject:

“My zombie repellent was stolen.”

We don’t know whodunit, so the subject can’t be present to do the action.

strong characterWe want strong characters!

In writing, you want your main characters to be active, you want them to be doing the things in the story, not the story happening all around your character, that’s just boring. (Though I’m sure there’s an interesting pretense that could be conceived of to have a whole story happen around your subject in passive voice, but I digress.)

Tricks for spotting passive voice:

A few easy to spot indicators of a passive sentence are looking for certain ‘auxiliary’ verbs or ‘helping’ verbs such as: are, was, were, being, been, etc… If your sentence has ‘was *VERBED* by…’ in it, its a passive voice.


But where are the zombies?

Here’s a neat little trick: if your sentence can be performed ‘by zombies’, it is passive voice. In other words, if the phrase, ‘by zombies’ can be inserted after the verb and it makes sense, then it is a passive voice.


“The whole town was eaten (by zombies).”

“My car was stolen (by zombies).”

“The children were fed (by zombies…or just really tired parents).”


If you are using an active voice, the phrase ‘by zombies’ won’t work.

“I am laying in my bed (by zombies)”  The phrase doesn’t fit, even though it is true that the sleeping children laying next to me in my bed are very zombie-like at times.

If I changed the sentence to, “My bed was being laid upon (by zombies) with me in it,” then we have a passive sentence, and I might be in trouble.


So remember, when writing for your stories and for strong characters, make sure you have a zombie-free environment by using the active voice!

Now, to go kill me some zombies, I need to go do some editing.

Zombie free

And as always: “Raise a glass to inspiration!”

Greetings Faithful Readers,
pexels-photo-315918.pngIt took me many years to figure it out, but it was so simple once I really sat myself down to do it. The secret to being a successful writer. (Though I’m not published yet, I am someone who writes on a consistent basis on projects that are gaining speed in a productive way)

What is the secret? How can you as a writer implement it? Where did I learn it?

These are all very good questions.

It started with me struggling, as do all creative minded people. I was working on a book series that I had been working on for a good year and a half. It still wasn’t a complete first draft, even after all that time and effort. Yet, I heard other writers all the time talk about finishing books within 6 months, even 3 months banging out first drafts.

What were they doing that I wasn’t? I was being pretty consistent. I was thinking about my writing all the time and had new ideas developing in the back of my mind. The world in which my characters were living was alive, in my mind at least.

But I was missing two important things.


1st – I was missing the important component of goal setting. I was just writing ‘when I had time’, on my lunch breaks or after work, but not at a consistent, set aside time ‘every’ day, and not with a quantifiable goal.

That’s important. Not just setting a goal, but setting a goal that can be measured. Not to kick yourself when you miss your goal (because you will miss your goal) but to keep you striving that extra bit, when you get close to your goal and instead of just quitting for the day because you ran out of time in the morning, or stopping where ever in the writing because you got hungry or board, but pressing through to hit that number you set for yourself.

It pushes you that extra bit that you wouldn’t strive for if you were just laissez-faire about it.

For me, when writing I shoot for 2500 words a day.

Not just because its a nice round number, but because other successful writers make this their daily goal. It’s also the equivalent of 10 printed book pages, which can help you determine a rough page count estimate as you’re writing.

And it’s a very do-able goal. You can have it done in about 3 hours if you keep yourself focused and not distracted.

If that number is too daunting, then just plan to write for 2 or 3 hours a day, not researching, not putting together you’re writing play list or finding insperation, but just writing during that time.

If you’re past the first draft stage, and on to editing, then give yourself daily page goal. Can you edit 1 chapter a day? 5 pages a day? 3 pages? Do what works best for you. Set a time frame for when you want to be done with your second draft.


2nd – The second secret is knowing how to progress.
When writing the first draft the most important thing to do is keep writing!

Don’t go back and edit, that’s what a second draft is for. You gotta have a first draft before you can have a second. And that’s what I was doing wrong. I would go back and edit paragraphs I wrote the day before and spend all my writing time not progressing the story and then the story only stayed in my mind and was never smithed into words.

Now, it can be good to edit a chapter or a few pages if you are going to share it with an IR (initial reader) or with a writer’s group. But don’t waste a lot of time on editing and polishing if you don’t have a complete first draft.

I learned this secret by being a part of NaNoWriMo back in 2015. It was one of the best things I ever did for my writing career. If you get a chance this November, get involved with National Novel Writing Month.


Either way, if you do just these two simple suggestions, give yourself a daily goal and just write until the first draft is done, you will see your imagination come to life. And that momentum will carry you forward.

Most importantly, never give up, keep moving forward and continually find different ways to encourage and inspire yourself.

And as always: Raise a glass to inspiration!


Check out our new webpage:

Don’t forget to go to our Facebook page and listen to the podcast and get involved in the interactive storytelling:

Hey Faithful Readers,

Just a quick little reminder to hit the ‘Sign Up’ button on our Facebook Page or the Subscribe button on my WordPress to add yourself to our e-mail list.

We are getting ready to launch a few big updates by the end of the month and don’t want you to miss out on anything.

Look forward to our first podcast coming soon where you, the listener/reader will have the chance to choose the way the story progresses.

Also, we should be launching a GoFundMe page shortly to help raise funds to send members of Brew & Ink to the Realm Makers 2018 Writer’s Conference. If you are interested in learning more check out this link for more info.

And as always:
Raise a glass to inspiration!
Brew N Ink

This is my Author page to find out more about all the new ideas and projects I am working on, as well as updates for our writers’ group: Brew & Ink.

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