Passive Versus Active Voice
The most common piece of advice given to new writers of all genres is probably to show the action that occurs, rather than to tell the reader about it after the fact. This advice is especially important for a new romance novelist. “Telling” relies upon the use of passive voice, whereas “showing” uses active voice. What's the difference between the two?
Quite a bit, actually.
Passive voice is dependent upon the use of the “to be” verbs, which are forms of linking verbs such as
Not all uses of passive voice are wrong. Sometimes, an author will use this technique when describing a secondary character through the main character's POV. For example,
Active voice, on the other hand, uses action verbs, which show the action as it occurs. Notice the difference in the following examples:
The pizza was eaten by the football squad. (passive) —
The football squad ate the pizza.(active)
Julie was kissed on her neck by Robert. (passive) —
Robert kissed Julie on her neck.(active)
Using the active voice gives your writing immediacy and puts the reader into the middle of the action. Once the reader is involved in the action, it's more difficult for her to put down your book.