Thursday, August 16, 2007

Another Passive Voice Tip and Some Tools

Penelope Trunk wrote an article called, Six Ways to Improve Your Writing that is directed to business writing.

The article contains a tip for avoiding the passive voice that I’d not heard before. Ms. Trunk suggests looking for the word “by”. This, with the exception of attributing authorship, would indicate that the actor is not acting in the sentence. I don’t often construct my sentences that way, but it’s another tool for the passive voice prevention toolbox.

If you’re looking for a compendium of articles on writing, take a wander past AutoCrit. Once you’ve used their information to craft a fantastic article, you can paste 800 words of it into the AutoCrit for free. The non-member analysis is limited to a few items but every little bit helps.

Instead, you can pay them $40 a year and analyze up to 8,000 words at a time for a wide variety of writing issues like clichés, redundancies, and repeated words. That’s actually not bad if you have, for example, a 5,000-word e-book that you want to sell. If it reads well it will carry a lot more weight than a choppy, poorly edited mass of text.

Should you not wish to pay the fee to find clichés, you can use Cliché Finder. That site doesn’t specify a length limit, but there may be one. It’s a stripped-down little site.