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Tips for writers

Don’t spend time and words warm up your engines

Start with the action

  1. Choose active voice over passive voice.
    1. Passive voice clues:

Verb to be ( am, is, are, was, were, be)

The word by

Past participle (past-tense form of a verb, ie. Stolen, chewed

  1. Give an example:

The writing book that covered punctuation rules was chewed up by the teacher’s pet dog.


Active voice correction: The teacher’s dog chewed up the punctuation rule book.

  1. Use a clear subject to indicate who did what.


  1. Don’t totally get rid of passive voice, you need it if:
    1. You want to focus on the object, not the subject
    2. You don’t care who did what because it’s obvious
    3. You intentionally omit who did it
    4. Average of 5 – 10% passive voice. Know what your publisher expects.

How to find passive voice in an MSWord document:

Go to the “Review” tab on the tool bar above your document

Choose “Spelling & Grammar” Be sure that the box that comes up has “grammar” checked off

In the “text box”, be sure the box in the grammar options “show readability statistics” is checked.


  1. 3. –ing words should send up a flag to you – they are vague

Especially at the beginning of a sentence, ask yourself who is doing the action.


  1. 4. If your sentence is so long that you can’t remember the subject and verb or get lost, then it needs a rewrite.

Shorten sentences by: getting rid of extra adjectives or adverbs

Get rid of direction words – up, down, over, under

Words like and, after, although, if, since, before, because, so though, when, which and who should be used like seasoning on the main course.

Focus on the main idea

  1. Be sure that everything moves the story along. Things that have no reason for happening should be taken out of your story.



Finding Balance through Time Management

In your busy lives it’s a challenge to keep track of everything and get it all done. Life reminds me of seeing the man spinning plates on top of sticks and trying to keep them all going without breaking any ( on the Ed Sullivan Show). Most of you probably are too young to remember the show. Our society is busier than ever and bombarded by 24/7 information. I’d like to share tips and get some in return from you for how you keep things in balance.

Tip #1: Get organized. I know this can be drudgery at first, but once it’s done then all you have to do is maintain a little at a time. We find all types of organizational tools and systems available in the stores. Some people make a living organizing offices, etc. for people.

Tip#2: Keep a calendar. May I suggest color coding for different activities or for members of the staff or your family. Helps keep track of who is where. Now we have access to electronic calendars that are hand held and can go everywhere with you. Personally, I’m just old fashioned enough to have one on my PC, laptop, and a printed copy for back up.

Tip#3: Save your MSWord documents in folders by subject or Title so you don’t waste time looking for documents.

Tip #4: Save back up files on a flash drive at the same time you save documents on your computer. Also save a back up for your bookmarks and contact lists so you don’t loose them if your computer crashes. It takes a lot of time to reconstruct those files if you loose them.