In case you hadn’t guessed from the title, this writing tip is about the passive tense! Whether you are writing in the first person (I, me) or the third person (he, she or they), you want to get this right.

The difference between the passive and the active voice, is if your characters are doing the action themselves (active), or if something is being done to them (passive). I hope that makes sense!


Here are some examples:


A lion was chasing him (active).

He was being chased by a lion (passive).


They broke the door down in their haste to get in (active).

The door was broken down in their haste to get in (passive).


The baby was being carried by his mother (passive).

The mother was carrying her baby (active).

Woman carrying baby

So which is better? I think you’ll agree with me, that the active voice is  better. It brings more immediacy to your story, is less vague, and generally uses less words. Three big ticks! 🙂

So don’t let things happen to you, or to your characters. Get on with the action yourself . . . or let your characters get stuck right into the plot. 🙂

Maybe you could take a look through your work in progress and see if you’ve used the passive tense when you could use the active? Go on, get as much action into your story as you can!


I hope you have found this tip helpful If you have, please tell your friends all about Write for a Reason – spread the encouragement.

Janet Wilson, founder of Dernier Publishing and Write for a ReasonAnd I’ll be in touch again next week!

In the meantime, happy writing,


Do You Let It Happen To You?
Share this: