Oh, The Shame! #IWSG

Yes, my author auto pilot still rules. I thought the muse had got the message. “Turn off the damn word ‘was’ or else!”

Insecure Writer's Support Group


For the past year of writing Forbidden, I made a conscious effort to eliminate those dreaded passive words. After typing ‘The End’ and jumping up and down with delight, I did a word search. ‘Was’ – the first word on my hit list. I snickered as I waited for the computer to come up with a near zero search.

OMG! How the blazes did all those wazes get in there. Old mindless habits, and bloody blind to boot! I read and reread but my mind skipped over the wazes. My eyes skipped over the wazes. The shame!

I’m debating if can eliminate the ‘was’ word from my computer. If I type in the ‘was’ word, something will spring out from the monitor and whack me over the head.

Now the real work begins. Line by line, reconstructing sentences to bring in the active voice. Fortunately, not every paragraph has a ‘was’ and there are pages where ‘was’ only occurred once. How many ‘wazes’ are allowed? None?

Have you been able to turn off the ‘was’ and  ‘were?’ What other words should I be on the hunt for?


16 thoughts on “Oh, The Shame! #IWSG

  1. Just stopping by from the IWSG linky list 🙂

    Ha ha ha, i have EXACTLY the same problem! Which is why i avoid editing lol. I think the word i struggle with is “then” lol

    Good luck honey xx


  2. I just grabbed my book and did a quick scan and found the word was. ‘Maplewood was a town in Northern Denall.’ I don’t think was is always an offense to having an active voice. But I’m sure I could do some more show and less tell about the history of Maplewood. Anyway, it great that you are being so careful about your book. It will help make it that much more wonderful.


    1. Thank you, Eric. I’m being careful for the sake of my readers but mostly because I know agents and publishers zone in on these hot spots. Thanks.


  3. Sometimes ‘was’ is the shortest distance and there’s no shame in that. “She was late.” I never had a problem with passive voice until I went to a workshop about it and got so anal retentive I could barely construe a sentence. My prose read like a pop up book it was so active. Worse than ‘was’ – “had been.” Grrr.


    1. Okay, I’ll have to add ‘had been’ to my search; along with ‘just’ and ‘then’ Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only ‘was’ writer. LOL


    1. Don’t give up, Elsie. What’s that saying? Something about what comes easy is not worth it? If I can clean up my ms, anyone can. Let’s get to work.


    1. Hi Emaginette: It’s been a long day today; getting ready for road trip tomorrow. Did I snicker? Hope I WASn’t being rude. LOL


  4. Yeah, I’ve overused those. A few are all right, but since they’re passive, you have to rework the sentence to get rid of it.
    I have a few pet words I use often. As many times as my critique partners have pointed them out, you’d think I’d remember not to use them.
    Welcome to the IWSG!


  5. This is a great post. I’ve gotten better with sentence structure and voice. I used to write in passive voice all the time after my illness. I wasn’t perfect before, but I was better. 🙂 At least now I can confidently say I’m down to about 30%. I still have a way to go, so I just keep practicing. Have a great night. Eva


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