Writers

NaNoWriMo Zoom Co-Working Events

November 1 – 30, 2021

Wily Writers will be hosting extra co-working sessions during the month of November in conjunction with Nanowrimo!

Can you produce a 50k-word first draft in one month?
Just IMAGINE how great it’ll feel to look back having done so!

Learn more and sign up for Nanowrimo (free).
You don’t have to officially sign up to participate in any of the co-working sessions. All Wilies welcome at any time!

Once you have your Nanowrimo account set up, go to Groups and search for Wily Writers. Join the group!

If you have any questions about it, post them to our Facebook group!


Come to the co-working events when you can and stay as long as you like. It’s okay to show up late. We’ll do a short greeting at the beginning, then we’ll dive in.

I and many others have anecdotal proof that this method works to get us focused and writing. The group dynamic is powerful. Just knowing that you’re not alone and that others are there working alongside you is energizing!

These events will NOT be recorded.

Grab the perfect tool to track your progress:
Writing Sprints Tracker & Journal
The Serious Writer’s Daily Word Production Log
by Wily E.S. Magill

Example Newsletter: Angel Leigh McCoy

View Angel’s Newsletter Sign up for it on her website. My newsletter is specific to my Wyrdwood novel series. I’ve branded everything around the word “Wyrdwood.” Strange, wonderful, and terrifying beings (and their stories) exist in Wyrdwood, often right next door. I try to relay this feeling in my newsletters. I don’t share a lot…


The rest of this content is for members only.
Login Join Now

Example Newsletter: Lisa Morton

View Lisa’s Newsletter Sign up for it on her website. Back about six years ago, I hired an expert in book promotion to help me with sales. Her biggest tip? I needed an author newsletter. The first thing you need to know: most internet service providers will limit the number of e-mails you can send…


The rest of this content is for members only.
Login Join Now

Setting up a Newsletter

A newsletter is the absolute best way to reach those fans who love your work. You collect their email addresses then contact them directly when you have a new product on the market. Your fans opt in to receive these emails, so you know they want to hear from you, and you’re doing them a favor by keeping them apprised of your news.

  • What options exist for setting up a newsletter?
  • Does a newsletter need to cost money?
  • How often do I need to send one out?
  • What do I say in them?
  • How do I collect emails?

All these are great questions. Let’s look at the answers.

Contains Hidden, Members-Only Content
Log in to view it all.


How to Format a Short Story for Submission

Technology in the publishing industry has changed dramatically in the past twenty years, and yet, I see many submission guidelines out there that haven’t changed with it. Old-fashioned typesetting is extinct for all practical purposes, and digital publishing (for the Kindle, for example) imposes requirements that publishing in paper doesn’t.

To compete and be at the top of your game, you need to understand how the advent of the computer and digital publishing has impacted publishing. Forget typesetting. Forget typewriters. It’s the 21st century.

Many submission guidelines (such as those at the SFWA site, 2005) are written for the novelist submitting a paper manuscript to a publisher that employs a typesetter. They do not serve the short story writer. Short stories have their own requirements, especially in today’s publishing environment.

William Shunn offers a template and tips
that are quite up-to-date and good.

#1 Rule to Submission Formatting

Read the guidelines and follow them. Every publisher has a different idea of what they want. If you don’t follow their guidelines, you’re giving them another reason to reject your story.

No More Typewriters!

Many of the old manuscript formatting rules came about because of typewriters and the typesetting tools publishers used. We can let them go now. Typesetting these days is all automated. And most publishers just import your Word doc into software programs like Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress.

Digital Publishing

Many publishers are formatting for multiple media that can be read on mobile devices (phones & iPads) and hand-held readers like the Kindle, the Sony Reader, etc. These devices require publishers to reformat your story for the different media.

Keeping that in mind, there are things you can do to make it easier on them, and things that will have them tearing their hair out.

A Dozen Tips

To preface, I’ll remind you to always, always read and follow the submission guidelines of the market to which you’re submitting. However, you can put a few best practices into your formatting habits that will endear you to editors and publishers.

It’s in your best interest to learn how to use Word or some other word-processing software like a pro. Get someone to teach you, or use an online tutorial, such as this basic one for Word from Microsoft. For an “Advanced” Word tutorial, check out this Youtube video:

Here’s a checklist of ten formatting habits you can cultivate to make the job of the publisher/editor so much easier (and have them praising your name more often):

  1. If the publisher requests a particular font, do as they say. But, if not, then use either Courier or Times New Roman, 12-point. Maintain the same size font throughout the manuscript (with the exception of the title). Don’t put in section headers that are larger. If you have headers between sections, keep them the same size and bold them. “Simple” and “functional” are your two keywords.
  2. If your story is in sections, put a single hashtag between sections. The publisher will probably replace that with something more attractive, but it’s important they know that a section break is happening.
  3. Add three hashtags at the end of the story. This lets the editor/publisher know that they have the entire manuscript and have reached the end.
  4. Turn off curly quote marks in Word. These can be a terrible pain in the ass and easily get buggered up. —Instructions—
  5. Turn off automatic ellipsis creation. Use three periods, not the ellipsis character. —Instructions—

    This image shows the Options page. Click “Proofing,” click “AutoCorrect Options,” then make sure you’re on the Autocorrect tab. Look for the ellipsis in the list, highlight it and delete it. Thus, when you type in three periods, it won’t automatically switch to a special character.

  6. If the guidelines do not request a specific format, use italics for italics. Don’t use underscores for italics. That’s as old-fashioned as putting two spaces between sentences (and has its roots in when our grandparents used typewriters and white-out).
  7. Do not put two spaces between sentences. Publishers have to strip them out. If you really can’t break the habit of hitting that space bar twice after a period, then make it your habit to do a Search-and-Replace once you’re done. Swap out double spaces for single spaces. It’s fast and easy.

    My hero, Grammar Girl, gives an excellent explanation on why we no longer put in two spaces after a sentence.

  8. Do not manually insert page numbers. Your word processor has an automatic page numbering system that can go in the footer or header. Use that. —Instructions—
  9. Do not manually insert tabs. Use your paragraph settings to indent that first line. Otherwise, your editor has to go in and delete all those tabs and set the paragraph settings for you. Also, do not manually insert spaces at the beginning of a paragraph.
  10. Use emdashes, and use them properly. I see so many variations on the emdash and endash. The emdash is the longer one. The endash shorter. The rules are fairly simple once you take the time to learn them, and using them correctly in your manuscript will make you editor’s pet.
    • To insert an emdash, all you have to do is hold down the ALT key while you type 0151 on the number pad (not the numbers at the top, but those on the side or in the middle). The endash is your regular ol’ buddy, the dash that’s on your keyboard.
    • If you can’t use a real emdash, two endashes are a lamer substitute but won’t get you mocked.
    • All style guides, except AP Style, recommend NO space before and after the emdash. This means that, unless you’re writing a journalistic piece, you shouldn’t be putting those spaces in there. For example:
      • Correct: The sky was blue—whether we liked it or not—with small fluffy clouds.
      • Incorrect: The sky was blue — whether we liked it or not — with small fluffy clouds.

     

  11. Learn how to properly use ellipses. We have all gotten into some very bad habits with ellipses because of email, texting, and online chat. Ellipses, however, serve a different role in literary text than they do in casual discussion text.
     

    Grammar Girl gives a great overview of ellipsis use. With short stories (or novels), however, there are a couple of things to especially keep in mind. In fiction, evaluate the voice of what you’re writing. Unless you’re writing in first person, you’ll rarely use an ellipsis outside dialogue because the purpose of the ellipsis is to show hesitating or faltering speech, or skipped words.

    Furthermore, it is not a valid substitution for a period. We see this often in email and chat windows, but you’ll rarely use it in literary text except with dialogue, where the speaker trails off and drops words (thus, fitting the skipped word requirement above.) For example:

    • Incorrect: John said, “Honey, I’d like to get ice cream before the shop closes…” He stared as an alien burst from his wife’s chest. (The sentence finishes, thus it should be a period, not an ellipsis.)
    • Correct: John said, “Honey, I’d like to get ice cream before the…” He stared as an alien burst from his wife’s chest. (Dropped words make the ellipsis appropriate.)
  12. Consistent formatting is critical. Even if you don’t do it right, do it the same way all the time. It’s those erratic formatting elements that kill your editor/publisher. If you choose to put a blank line between paragraphs (not recommended), then do so exactly the same way each time. Anything you do that makes it easier for your editor/publisher/agent to Search-and-Replace earns you more good karma.

How you format your manuscript isn’t just about making it look good and making it legible. It’s also about preparing it for the transition to a publishable state. If your manuscript requires a ton of work to get it ready, the editor/publisher/agent may pass it up for an equally good story that’s going to be less painful to format.

Do everything you can to improve your chances of:

    1. Being seen as a professional.
    2. Being seen as someone who is up-to-date with current word-processing technology.
    3. Being seen as someone who makes the editor’s/publisher’s/agent’s job easier.

Loren Rhoads

Author Information

Loren Rhoads

Image, Loren Rhoads

My life changed when I read Dracula at age 10 and then again when I saw Star Wars at 13. Telling true stories — and exploring cemeteries — came much later. To me, it’s all interconnected.

My latest book is The Spooky Writer’s Planner, co-written with Emerian Rich. We wanted to make an organizing tool for writers that would be inspiring and fun. It’s available as a paperback on Amazon or as a digital download through my Etsy shop.

My first collection of short stories, Unsafe Words, came out in September 2020. It’s a selection of my horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction short stories, from the pages of Cemetery Dance, City Slab, and Space & Time magazines, the Wily Writers podcast, and the books Demon Lovers, Sins of the Sirens, and The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two, among others.

My novel Angelus Rose (co-written with Brian Thomas) came out earlier in 2020. Angelus Rose is the sequel to Lost Angels. The As Above, So Below series asks “If Romeo had wings and Juliet a barbed tail, could they find love in the City of Angels?”

It was my honor to serve as editor for Tales for the Camp Fire: A Charity Anthology Benefiting Wildfire Relief, which came out in May 2019. Twenty-four Northern Californian horror writers came together to raise money for survivors of 2018’s devastating wildfire in Paradise, California. Contributors included Nancy Etchemendy, Dana Fredsti, Ross Lockwood, Erika Mailman, Gene O’Neill, and more.

199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die, a guidebook to cemeteries around the world, came out in a gloriously illustrated full-color hardcover from Black Dog & Leventhal Books in October 2017. The UK edition was published in paperback by Sphere Books.

Part cemetery history, part travel memoir, Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel collects my essays from Gothic.Net, Morbid Outlook, Eleven Eleven, and Morbid Curiosity magazine, alongside pieces written specifically for the book. The revised second edition was published by Automatism Press in July 2017.

My space opera trilogy In the Wake of the Templars The Dangerous Type, Kill By Numbers, and No More Heroes — was published by Night Shade Books in 2015. Publishers Weekly said the trilogy brought grimdark to space opera.

Between 1996 and 2006, I edited the cult nonfiction magazine Morbid Curiosity. I still believe curiosity is a radical, transformative trait. Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues: True Stories of the Unsavory, Unwise, Unorthodox, and Unusual, a collection of some of my favorite essays drawn from the magazine was published by Scribner in 2009.

My travel essays have appeared on Mental Floss, The Daily Beast, GothicBeauty.com, as well as darkening the pages of Association for Gravestone Studies Quarterly, two Traveler’s Tales books, and the anthology Pills, Thrills, Chills, and Heartache: Adventures in the First Person (edited by Clint Catalyst and Michelle Tea). I explore graveyards as travel destinations at CemeteryTravel.com.

My short fiction has been anthologized in Best New Horror, Strange California, The Haunted Mansion Project: Year One and Year Two, Sins of the Sirens: 14 Tales of Dark Desire, and nEvermore!: Tales of Murder, Mystery, and the Macabre. My stories have appeared most recently in the magazines Occult Detective Quarterly, Space & Time, and Weirdbook.

I’ve been interviewed as a cemetery expert by Time magazine, USA Today, The Weather Channel, NPR, and ABC in Australia, and newspapers across the country including the Washington Post and the LA Times. I’ve spoken about cemeteries at the Horror Writers Association’s Stoker Con, the Science Fiction Writers Association’s Nebula Weekend, the Association for Gravestone Studies Conference, San Francisco’s Odd Salon, and the Death Salon.

Links for Sharing
And don’t forget to friend, like, follow, and subscribe yourself too!

http://lorenrhoads.com

Works for Promotion

This Morbid Life
Automatism Press

https://lorenrhoads.com/nonfiction/this-morbid-life/

What others have called an obsession with death is really a desperate romance with life. Guided by curiosity, compassion, and a truly strange sense of humor, this particular morbid life is detailed through a death-positive collection of 45 confessional essays. Along the way, author Loren Rhoads takes prom pictures in a cemetery, spends a couple of days in a cadaver lab, eats bugs, survives the AIDS epidemic, chases ghosts, and publishes a little magazine called Morbid Curiosity. These emotionally charged essays showcase the morbid curiosity and dark humor that transformed Rhoads into a leading voice of the curious and creepy.


Unsafe Words
Automatism Press
Unsafe Words by Loren Rhoads book cover
https://amzn.to/2SKwAuZ

In the first full-length collection of her edgy, award-winning short stories, Loren Rhoads punctures the boundaries between horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction in a maelstrom of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. Ghosts, succubi, naiads, vampires, the Wild Hunt, and the worst predator in the woods stalk these pages, alongside human monsters who follow their cravings past sanity or sense.

The stories have come from the pages of the magazines Cemetery Dance, City Slab, Instant City, and Space & Time, the Wily Writers podcast, and the books Sins of the Sirens, Demon Lovers, The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two, Tales for the Camp Fire, and more.

Yvonne Navarro

Author Information

Yvonne Navarro


Yvonne Navarro is the author of Concrete Savior, Highborn, AfterAge, deadrush, Final Impact, Mirror Me and a bunch of other books, plus Buffy the Vampire Slayer novels and tie-in novels for Hellboy, Elektra, Supernatural, and others.

From her Amazon page:

I was born back in the early days when black and white photographs were considered normal instead of artsy. As a child, I always thought I’d grow up to be an artist, and I was convinced I’d spend my life doing line drawings of long, leggy models like the ones in the daily newspapers. Life, however, did not cooperate: a foul-up in grammar school resulted in a transfer to a local high school instead of the technical, arts-heavy one I’d planned to attend.

Following that was a move that really made things start winding around. By the time I returned to Chicago for the second time in 1981, I’d worked as a waitress, a nurse’s aide, a bookkeeper and gift shop cashier, an accounting clerk, and a secretary in everything from office furniture stores to a hotel to a journalism society. In 1981 I came back to my old job in a Chicago law firm and settled down in the Windy City for a while. In 1982, I tried to write because my mother said “You could do this.” The seed had still been planted, and I sold my first story in 1984. Since then I’ve written around a hundred stories, most of which have been or are scheduled to be published.

My first novel, AfterAge, was published in 1993 and was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. In 1995 my second solo novel, deadrush, was published, and it also was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award, this time in the category of Superior Achievement in a novel. Final Impact, the third solo novel, was published in 1997, and won both the Chicago Women In Publishing’s Award for Excellence in Adult Fiction and the “Unreal Worlds” Award for Best Horror Paperback of 1997 from the Rocky Mountain News. Since then I’ve published several more solo novels, Red Shadows (a follow-up to Final Impact), DeadTimes, and That’s Not My Name, my first suspense novel. That’s Not My Name, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Paleo, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Willow Files, Vol. 2 all won at the Illinois State level of the IWPA 2001 Mate E. Palmer Communications contest (two first place and one second place, respectively), plus I somehow swept all three awards of the Short Story category with “Ascension,” “Divine Justice,” and “Santa Alma.”

I moved to my beloved Arizona in 2002 and currently work on historic Fort Huachuca, in southern Arizona. Numerically, I’m up to about twenty novels and one non-fiction book, with those never-ending plans for more. I love heat, Godiva chocolates, and Great Danes.

The list of Yvonne’s publications at ISFDB is vast.

Links for Sharing
And don’t forget to friend, like, follow, and subscribe yourself too!

Amazon author page:
https://www.amazon.com/Yvonne-Navarro/e/B000APBQK8%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/35010.Yvonne_Navarro

Works for Promotion

AfterAge

https://crossroadpress.com/product/afterage/
A plague of vampirism has crept across the country, reducing once-thriving cities to ghost towns. In Chicago, a few scattered survivors hide behind the fortified walls of office buildings and museums, raiding deserted stores for dwindling supplies of clothing and food.

Meanwhile, a hungry vampire population also struggles for survival as their prey grows scarce, forcing them to capture alive the last remaining humans as breeding stock for the blood farms that will ensure their future.

Now a small band of humans makes a desperate last stand against their vampire masters, fighting back with the only weapon that can kill the dead…


Joan De La Haye

Author Information

Joan De La Haye


Joan De La Haye writes horror and some very twisted thrillers. She invariably wakes up in the middle of the night because she’s figured out yet another freaky way to mess with her already screwed-up characters. Joan is interested in some seriously weird shit. That’s probably also one of the reasons she writes horror. Joan is deep, dark, and seriously twisted, and so is her writing.

Links for Sharing
And don’t forget to friend, like, follow, and subscribe yourself too!

Website: https://joandelahaye.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoanDeLaHaye
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJoanDeLaHaye
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joan.delahaye/

Works for Promotion

The Race

https://books2read.com/b/4EWP9e

Joanna Perry is drugged, kidnapped, and forced to fight for survival, for the entertainment of the world’s rich and depraved, as well as the chance to win her weight in gold. In the race for her life, glory, and gold, Joanna must kill or be killed.

Shadows (the Diabolical Series, Book 1)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LBB4W3M

What if you thought you were losing your mind?

What if all those nightmares were real?

Could you survive a demon bent on torment and death, a nightmare feeding on your fear?

“If you’re open to reading a book that is genuinely disturbing, in some cases distasteful, and creepy as hell, then I’m pretty sure you’ll ‘enjoy’ Shadows.” – Dave de Burgh, author of Betrayal’s Shadow

“Dark, twisted and creepy, Shadows will take you out of your comfort zone and keep you glued to the pages of the book, regardless of whether or not you want to.” – Tammy February, W24.com

“If you like your horror as warped as it gets, you’ll love this genuinely scary page-turner. I’m looking forward to reading what she does next – although I suspect I’ll be reaching for the Sominex afterwards.” – Something Wicked


Bill Bodden

Author Information

Bill Bodden


A professional freelance writer since 2003, Bill has more recently concentrated on writing fiction, particularly dark fantasy and horror. He lives in the upper Midwest of the US, and travels to conventions whenever he’s able.

Links for Sharing
And don’t forget to friend, like, follow, and subscribe yourself too!

Website: http://billbodden.com/
Twitter: @BillBodden
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bill.bodden

Works for Promotion

CHANGING BREEDS: Wild West Tales Anthology


https://www.drivethrufiction.com/product/331555/Changing-Breeds-Wild-West-Tales-Anthology

The Wild West was wilder than you can imagine. As European settlers moved west across the burgeoning United States, the Changing Breeds moved west with them, seeking new opportunities and places to live in peace.

The Wyrm moved west as well. In some cases, it had already been there for a long, long time.

In the never-ending struggle against the Wyrm, the Changing Breeds will find new allies, new enemies, and new situations for which none of them will be prepared.

Changing Breeds: Wild West Tales includes:

10 stories of the Changing Breeds featuring crows and cats, spiders and bats, and more – all set against the backdrop of the Wild West.
10 stories of Changing Breeds by authors Aaron Rosenberg, Angel Leigh McCoy, Joyce Chng, Bill Bodden, Sarah Hans, Stephen R. Lickman, Christine Morgan, Rick Heinz, Megan Mackie, and Crystal Mazur.
10 stories of the Changing Breeds finding their way in the world at a time when life was cheap, death was easy to come by, and the Wyrm was – as it always is – ever-present.

Other Links

  • https://www.drivethrufiction.com/product/294150/Darkened-Streets
  • https://www.drivethrufiction.com/product/95397/Haunted-11-Tales-of-Ghostly-Horror
  • https://www.drivethrufiction.com/product/294913/Tales-of-Good-Dogs


Market Challenge – DL: October 15, 2021

Consider yourself challenged! Wily Writers challenges you to write a story for the following market and submit it. Wily members can join our L’il Workshop of Horrors group and post it there to get it polished up nice and bright before submitting it!

Are you in?

Market Challenge

Submissions open: August 30 – October 15, 2021

MIRROR, MIRROR

Modern Myths

Executive Editor: Kevin J. Anderson

Edited by Kevin J. Anderson with an editorial team provided by Western Colorado University Graduate Program in Creative Writing, Publishing MA students. Anthology made possible by a generous contribution from Draft2Digital.

When you’re alone with your reflection,
are you prepared for what you see?

A prince in disguise? A monster revealed? An alien race?

Mirrors can be truth-tellers, wish-granters, face-concealers, illusion-makers, even monster-summoners. Maybe the mirror shows an evil twin, or an echo of the life that should have been. Or a portal to another world. What happens when it shatters?

Once upon a time, no one knew the phrase “Once upon a time.” You’ve read the classic stories. Now write the lore you’ve always wanted to read. Explore this creative challenge from your own unique perspective informed by your roots, culture, and background. We want original fables, folklore, and fairy tales for an eclectic anthology showcasing a new dawn of an old art form.

Imagine a canon of diverse characters for today’s readers to love and loathe. Gaze into the mirror, whether literally or figuratively—classic or genre-bending, grim or whimsical, as long as it is new and fresh.

We are looking for original short stories (prose poems will also be considered) to include a mix of fantasy, science fiction, horror, magical, and romance elements. Must be appropriate for a “PG-13” audience. Please, no copyrighted characters. Previously unpublished stories only. Women, BIPOCs, LGBTQIA+, neurodiverse individuals, and other minorities are strongly encouraged to submit.

    Length: up to 5000 words (firm limit)
    Rate: 6¢/word on acceptance.
    Rights: First Anthology Rights and audio rights as part of the anthology; rights revert to author one month after publication; publisher retains non-exclusive right to include in the anthology as a whole.
    Due: We are open to submissions from August 30 through October 15, 2021.
    Multiple Submissions: No; one submission per person
    Simultaneous Submissions: No.
    Reprints: No.

Submit: A Microsoft Word or RTF file in standard manuscript format to
https://wordfirewestern.moksha.io/publication/2/3/submit

If you don’t know what standard manuscript format is, review, for example, https://www.shunn.net/format/classic/

Comment below if you’re accepting the challenge and especially when you submit!

Discussion forum:
https://wilywriters.net/forums/topic/market-challenge-discussion/

Grammar Rant: The Misunderstood “Is” – Part 1

You will often hear advice to search for any variation of the verb “to be” in your writing and eliminate it. It often gets labeled “passive” by default.

The truth is more complicated.

The verb “to be” is often used in passive writing, yes, but it’s not the verb itself that makes it passive.

Consider these examples.

  • John is an architect. (not passive)
  • The can is kicked by John. (passive)

The first of those is absolutely NOT passive. John is very actively being an architect.

What makes the second sentence passive is that the OBJECT of the sentence is pretending to be the SUBJECT. Thus it is passive. An active version of this would be: John is kicking the can. Or, depending on exactly what you mean to say: John kicks the can. Those two active versions can have different possible meanings, so choosing the appropriate one is important to express what you mean.

Another example:

  • John and Bobbie are starting a business. (not passive)
  • A business is being started by John and Bobbie. (passive)

The first is not passive. John and Bobbie are in the very active process of starting a business. Actually, the verb in this sentence is “to start” and “were starting” is the tense.

In the second, the OBJECT is pretending to be the SUBJECT. That is passive voice.

More complex examples:

  • The man was killed. (passive; If you can hear “by it” in your head after the verb, then it’s probably passive.)
  • The man died. (not passive)
  • The man was pushed into a giant fan and lost his head. (passive)
  • Someone pushed the man into a giant fan, and he lost his head. (not passive)
  • The man fell into a giant fan and lost his head. (not passive)

In conclusion, the verb “to be” isn’t automatically a sign that you’re using passive tense.

Deeper Dive

When you use the present tense of “to be” plus an —ing verb, you’re using the Present Continuous verb tense. It indicates that the subject is currently in the process of doing something. Not passive.

Examples:

  • I am running for mayor. (not passive)
  • He’s talking on the phone. (not passive)
  • They are having an affair. (not passive)
  • The table is being sanded by him. (passive)
  • She is being ridiculous. (not passive)

Past tense “to be” plus an —ing verb => Past Continuous verb tense. Not passive when the subject and object of the sentence are placed in their proper order.

Examples

  • I was making him mad. (not passive)
  • She was robbing the train. (not passive)
  • Their school was being closed by the principal. (passive)
  • He was being playful. (not passive)
PRO TIP: When you’re writing dialogue, all bets are off. People often speak in passive voice, and you want your dialogue to sound natural.

As with all grammar “rules,” you’re allowed to break them so long as:

  1. You know the rule and are breaking it on purpose.
  2. You have a reason for breaking the rule. (Laziness doesn’t count.)

Writer Tools


The following tools will make staying organized easier and more efficient.

Click the cover to learn more.

Tools for Writers Created by Wily Writers

Writing Sprints Tracker & Journal
by E.S. Magill
Spooky Writer’s Planner
by Loren Rhoads