What Not To Do


In my travels, or travails is more like, I’ve been asked to beta read or edit various and sundry forms of fiction. The less eloquent of these have in common an overabundance of the ‘-ing’ participle.

Although grammatically correct and sometimes necessary, I would advise fiction writers to eliminate this verb form as much as possible. It is passive, and therefore, weak. Fortis fortuna adiuvat and the written word is no different.


The movie was boring, causing me to yawn. Wanting to sleep, I quickly left, pushing the door open while rubbing my eyes. 

That was terrible. This is better:

I was bored at the movie, and yawned. I wanted to sleep, so I left quickly and pushed the door open while I rubbed my eyes. 

Essentially, you want to advance the action and the best way to do that is make your subject actually do something, not be acted upon.

Tomorrow, we will cover adverbs. Any questions, feel free to leave a comment or send an email. Thanks.