For years, I’ve worked at improving my writing. I was taught to use passive verbs sparingly and switch them out for active ones. So I did. I hunted down the WASes in my scenes. Each time I did I WAS frustrated because I had TOO MANY.
So, I’d delete them and start over, changing the whole structure of my sentence. Eventually, this infringed on my productivity and stopped my imaginative and creative flow. When I’d see the W word my spontaneity halted, my sentence crashing with it. I felt like I was changing my wardrobe every fifteen minutes, which made me tired.
Then I read, JUST LISTEN, by Sarah Dessen. (You know she’s an awesome writer if ROBIN ROBERTS–my FAVE anchor show host–invited her on the show.)
JUST LISTEN is a young adult (YA) novel. (The genre I love to read and write.) In the first chapter, I was totally sucked in. Author Sarah Dessen made me care, piqued my interest, dropped breadcrumbs of suspense, and made it almost impossible for me to stop reading.
But guess what? She used WAS many, many times. (No, I didn’t count them. Sheesh, I’m not that rude.) I saw them because I’d been programmed to see them for so many years. But I didn’t care about them when I read her story! They became INVISIBLE because I was totally immersed.
What did this teach me? It taught me what I’ve heard before, but this time I “got”: The most important part of any novel is THE STORY!
Now when I write, my imagination flies across the keyboard, tapping out the story, and I don’t stop to police that three letter word. Was, was, was!
Sarah–if you’re reading this blog–please understand and help me celebrate. Your WASes liberated me. They freed me from the WAS bondage, and I’ve been wearing the same clothes ever since. No more changing around. No more hunting for active verbs that don’t fit. No more stopping midsentence.
Thank you, Sarah.
To check out Sarah’s novel at Amazon click here: JUST LISTEN.
(I dare you not to buy it.)
What word holds you in bondage?