The Difference Between Information Dumping and World-Building

You might have clicked on this blog post out of curiosity, wondering what one thing (information dumping) has to do with another (world-building). Well, information dumping is often confused with world-building, leaving the reader swimming among complex and difficult-to-read background narratives and setting information. So, how can you pull back from information dumping while creating complex worlds for your reader? Let’s dig in!

What is information dumping in creative writing, and why should writers strive to avoid it?

Information dumping in creative writing is the act of including excessive amounts of information all at once, which can be overwhelming for readers and detract from the overall story. It may take the form of long descriptions, explanations, or conversations that provide an unrealistic amount of information. This is especially problematic when it comes to backstory or world-building, as it can make readers feel like they have to “catch up” with the story in order to understand what’s happening.

Rather than dumping large amounts of information into one scene or conversation, writers should aim to spread out this information throughout their work in a more natural way. One approach is to introduce these details gradually over time as part of the narrative, allowing readers to absorb them as they go along. For example, rather than explaining a character’s entire backstory in one dialogue exchange, writers could interweave bits of that backstory into multiple scenes and conversations so that it feels more organic. This way, readers will be able to better follow along with the story and engage with it on a deeper level.

Another way writers can avoid information dumping is by focusing on characters instead of heavy description and exposition. Instead of relying on lengthy descriptions about settings or plot points, use characters’ actions and emotions to convey key elements of your story. By doing this, you can maintain your reader’s interest while still providing enough detail for them to build a mental picture without feeling overloaded or bored by too much information.

Another benefit of avoiding information dumping is that it allows for more natural dialogue between characters. When there’s too much exposition and detail given by one character to another, it often sounds forced and unrealistic. By introducing new ideas slowly into conversations, writers can craft more believable interactions.

Finally, if used effectively, withholding excess information can create tension and excitement while providing insight into characters’ true motivations and histories. If done right, readers will be eager to learn more about each character as they experience their journey firsthand instead of having everything revealed all at once—which would likely lead to disinterest or apathy towards their struggles over time.

Ways to Avoid Information Dumping

Use the senses:
Focus on creating vivid settings. Rather than simply stating facts about a setting, provide enough details about it that readers can visualise it in their minds as if they were really there. Describe the smells, the sounds, the sights, and textures that make up the character’s environment – these kinds of descriptions will help capture the reader’s imagination.

Introduce your characters slowly: 
Ensure characters have distinct voices and personalities. Instead of introducing characters with huge info-dumps full of traits and facts, create dialogue between them within their own scenes that convey who they are while also keeping things interesting for readers. Providing subtle details like accents or speech patterns can help bring characters to life and add depth without being too obvious or expositional.

Finish the puzzle:
Finally, tie up any loose ends you create in your stories without resorting to info-dumping them near the end. Ask yourself: What questions did I raise throughout my story? How am I going to answer them? Make sure your readers don’t feel like anything was left unresolved or that you simply rushed through certain plot points just so you could wrap everything up quickly at the end – instead, strive for a satisfying conclusion where every part fits together nicely like puzzle pieces.

Building Complex Universes to Create Captivating Experiences for Readers

Now we know how to avoid information dumping and why, how do we build a complex world?

Focus on Setting and Character
By constructing intricate settings and dynamic characters, authors are able to open up windows into new worlds that captivate readers into staying within these fictional realms. A well-crafted universe can make all the difference between a good story and an exceptional one.

A great example of how a fantasy world can be built is found in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series (you knew I would fit it in somehow!). From the language of Middle Earth to the detailed histories of Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits, Tolkien created an entirely unique world full of hidden secrets and remarkable characters that readers are still discovering today. Not only did he construct an incredibly detailed world, but he also filled it with intense battles and complex political struggles, which added even more layers to his imaginative universe.

Another example is George R.R Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire series, which tells a gripping tale set on the continent of Westeros where seven powerful families fight for control over the Iron Throne. Martin’s world is populated by fascinating characters with opposing goals, relationships rife with conflict and betrayals that keep readers glued to their seats until they reach the end of each book.

Building complex universes gives authors the opportunity to establish unique cultures, environments and societies, which add depth to their stories. It’s no wonder that some stories have captured public imaginations for decades – by giving readers access to worlds previously undiscovered by them before immersing themselves within these fictional realms; new experiences await! Do you need help with creating your world? Head to grab my freebies here – you’ll find world-building and character questions to help you build an amazing universe!

It’s important that writers find ways to avoid information dumping in their work if they want to create captivating, complex universes for their readers. Information dumping can hinder the flow of a story and ultimately result in a disappointing experience for the reader. By understanding what information dumping is and taking steps to avoid it, writers can hone their craft, produce better-quality work, and give their readers a world they love to read about.

Want to read something similar? Check these out:

How to Edit Creative Writing for Clarity, Style and Substance
5 Tips for Writing Trilogies by Carly Bennett



Can Creative Writing Be Taught?

It’s a question that I’ve heard throughout my writing career. As you know, I am an author, writing coach and editor, but I have also been a university lecturer in creative writing and have taught adults in this field for over seven years.

There are different types of creative writing classes. There is the type that allows you the time to write, essentially putting writers in a room together and giving them a theme to create with for an hour or so. There is also the type of class I teach, focusing more on the theory and craft of creative writing. From dialogue to characterisation, I teach writers everything from finding the time to write to creating a realistic character and plot.

In my experience, creative writing can be taught. Of course, talent is a huge part of anything creative, and some people find it easier to write and have a natural flair for the written word. But, I believe that anyone can tell their story with the right support.

Taking a creative writing class is the perfect way to get your creative juices flowing and hone your craft. Whether you’re looking for a creative outlet, want to refine your writing skills or brush up on some techniques, creative writing classes are a great launching pad.

Creative writing classes offer invaluable opportunities to learn new concepts while surrounded by like-minded writers. You can bounce ideas off each other and learn from different perspectives in order to expand your creative horizons. Not only will you become inspired by fellow students’ work, but you will also find motivation within yourself to develop further as a writer. Creative writing classes also offer networking opportunities with other writers who share your interests. Connecting with like-minded individuals can help open up possibilities for collaboration or even just making new friends within the creative circle.

The teachers of creative writing classes provide helpful advice and tips that guide you through the creative process. They often have a wealth of knowledge and experience, which can help you get the most out of your creative writing class. With their guidance, you’ll be able to explore various topics and find creative ways to express them in your writing.

Overall, creative writing classes can be an invaluable part of any writer’s journey. Such a course will inspire ideas and enhance your process, helping you build essential skills and connections that will benefit you as a writer. So why not give creative writing classes a try? You’ll be surprised at how much your creative work can benefit from it.

Looking for a creative writing class? If your preference is online, I offer a Masterclass, It’s Time to Write Your Novel. Here’s what my student Hannah had to say about it:

The Novel Writing Masterclass is a resource that I just keep coming back to. The flexible lesson structure and topic-focused videos mean that I can come back to Rachel’s valuable insight when I’m stuck or battling with a certain area of my writing. It is a dream of mine to write a novel, and although life sometimes gets in the way, I know that I have the knowledge, expertise and compassionate guidance of Rachel always behind me through her Masterclass resources and material.”

If you favour real-life classes, reach out to your local hubs for more information, workshops and further resources. With the right guidance, you may find yourself improving as a writer in no time! So why wait? Take that creative writing class now and start developing your craft today.

Want to read something similar? Check out the following:

5 Things I Wish I Had Known before Writing My First Novel
10 Ways to Grow as a Writer


3 Ways to Help a Reader Connect with your Characters

Crafting believable characters is a key element of successful fiction writing. To create vibrant and engaging stories, authors must develop their protagonists and antagonists in ways that draw readers into the narrative with carefully crafted dialogue, motivations, backgrounds, goals – all these elements allow us to relate to the character’s journey on an emotional level. By infusing their protagonists and antagonists with individual characteristics, writers provide immersive narratives in which readers can identify themselves within the character’s journey. This helps to create a lasting impact, which can define the success of a book.

When character development is done right, it can be compelling. By successfully creating characters that readers can relate to and empathise with, writers will be rewarded with an engaged audience. Although characterisation is often subject to individual interpretations, there are some general tips authors should keep in mind when crafting their own unique protagonists and antagonists.

Firstly, ensure your character’s dialogue reflects their character traits – if they’re supposed to be shy or outspoken, this must come across in their dialogue. Remember that people change as they grow, so your character’s dialogue should change alongside their character arc and experiences. Think of Scrooge from A Christmas Carol and how his language changes as we move through the story. He goes from being a character who speaks in short, angry, monosyllabic bursts of dialogue to being lyrical, ‘as merry as a schoolboy’, when he sees that life’s riches are beyond his wallet.

Secondly, ensure you have provided enough detail about the character’s background and motivations for readers to connect emotionally with them – without these details, characterisation can fall flat. How can you help your reader connect with your character? What motivates them to move forward through the story? It might be love, grief, ambition, or pride. All of these are universal feelings that your reader will be familiar with, so dig deep, and don’t be afraid to ‘write what you know’ (not sure what I mean by this? Don’t worry – I don’t mean write about your life! Check out this blog post here).

Finally, consider how your character develops over the course of the story – do they change for better or worse? How does this affect their character arc? Show the reader your character’s journey and how they have developed along the way.

If you are looking to craft engaging and captivating stories, begin by considering your protagonists’ and antagonists’ motivations and goals, and how your readers will be able to identify themselves within the character’s journey.

Would you like to talk about your characters? Get in touch here. 

Want to read something similar? Check out the following:

How to Create a Realistic Character
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How to Write Conflict in Your Novel: Tips for Crafting Dynamic Drama

Conflict is the backbone of any good story. It makes readers want to keep turning the pages, desperate to discover what happens next. If you want to write a novel packed with conflict, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, I’ll give you tips on crafting dynamic scenes of conflict that will keep your readers hooked from beginning to end.

So, what are some tips for writing conflict in your novel? Here are five to get you started:
  1. Make sure each character has a clear motivation for why they’re doing what they’re doing. Without this, the conflict will feel contrived and forced.
  2. Allow the conflict to escalate gradually. Start with small disagreements and then amp up the stakes as things progress. Conflict doesn’t always have to be big and dramatic. Sometimes the most interesting stories come from more subtle conflicts, like those between friends or family members. Experiment and see what works best for your story.
  3. Don’t be afraid to let your characters make mistakes. This will only make them feel more real and relatable to readers. We need to be able to root for them, and this means giving them relatable goals and motivations. Remember that not every character needs to be involved in every scene of conflict. In fact, sometimes, it can be more effective to have just one or two characters locked in battle while the rest of the cast watches on from the sidelines. This allows you to focus on the emotions and motivations of the characters involved and explore their relationship’s intricacies.
  4. Use dialogue to heighten the tension between characters further.
  5. And finally, remember that conflict should always serve a purpose. It should move the story forward and help to develop the characters in some way. One of the best ways to create believable conflict is to write about universal themes we can all relate to. Love, loss, betrayal, ambition, greed, fear… these are all emotions that we have all felt at one time, so they make for great fodder for conflict in your novel.

With these tips in mind, you should be well on your way to writing conflict that is dynamic and engaging. Would you like to talk about writing conflict? Get in touch here. 

Want to read something similar? Check out the following:

How to Create a Realistic Character
How to Create Tension in Your Writing

Coaching Productivity

How to Get Back into Creative Writing: Tips for Returning Writers

Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve written anything creatively. You used to enjoy writing short stories, poetry, and novels, but now it feels like a chore. You can’t seem to find the inspiration you need, and the words just won’t come out right. Creative writing can be a lot of fun, but it can also be daunting to start again after taking a break. These tips will help ease you back into the swing of things so you can enjoy the process and produce your best work.

Here are some tips for returning writers that will help get your creative juices flowing again:
  1. Assuming you haven’t written anything in a while, the first step is just to start writing again. Set aside some time each day, or even each week, specifically for writing. It doesn’t matter what you write about – just get words on the page. The important thing is to keep the momentum going and not let yourself get too discouraged. Making time for regular writing sessions will help train your brain to think creatively again.
  2. Pick up a pen and paper instead of typing on a computer. Sometimes the physical act of writing can help jumpstart your creativity.
  3. Start with prompts. If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, try using prompts to get started. You can find them in my newsletters, prompts online or in books designed specifically for writers. Once you get started, the ideas will begin to flow more easily.
  4. Join a writer’s group or take a writing class. Connecting with other writers can help jumpstart your creativity and give you some constructive feedback on your work. If you want to take a Creative Writing class online, check out my Creative Writing Masterclass here!
  5. Read, read, read! When you’re not writing, fill your time with reading material that inspires you. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, reading will help.
  6. Set small goals at first. Trying to tackle a massive project right off the bat can be daunting and lead to writer’s block. Instead, start with something more manageable that you know you can complete. This will help build your confidence and keep you motivated to keep going.
  7. If you’re having trouble getting started, it can also be helpful to lower your expectations. Write for yourself first and foremost, and don’t worry about whether what you’re producing is good or not. The goal is simply to get back into the habit of writing regularly.
  8. And finally, don’t forget to have fun! Creative writing should be enjoyable, so find a topic or genre you’re passionate about.

Taking some time for yourself is essential, too. Make sure to schedule some downtime to relax and recharge. Once you’ve taken some time to refresh yourself, you’ll be ready to start writing again with fresh energy and ideas.

If you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to getting back into the swing of things when it comes to creative writing. Just remember to take things slow, be patient with yourself, and most importantly, have fun!

Do you have any other tips for getting back into creative writing? Share them with me here. Want to talk about you can get back into writing? Book a Discovery Call today!

If you want to read something similar, check out the following:

Don’t Know Where to Start Writing? Try The Triptych Method
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5 Tips for Writing Creatively in the Morning

Do you ever struggle to find the time or energy to write creatively in the morning? If so, you’re not alone. Many people find it hard to get into the creative mindset early in the day. In this blog post, I’ll discuss some tips for establishing a morning routine that will help jumpstart your creativity.

1) Get up early. 

This may seem counterintuitive, but getting up earlier can give you more time to focus on your writing. Plus, there’s something about the quiet of early morning that just feels conducive to creativity. So set that alarm clock a little earlier than usual and see how it goes. Personally, I baulk at the idea of getting up an hour early, but I can manage twenty minutes. Those twenty minutes make a huge difference to me and my writing life.

2) Take some time for yourself. 

Before you start writing, take a few minutes to do something for yourself. This could be anything from taking a quick walk around the block to reading a few pages of your favourite book. The important thing is to take a few moments to clear your head and get into the right mindset for creative writing.

3) Find a comfortable spot.

Make sure you’re comfortable before writing. Find a spot where you can sit or stand comfortably. You might also consider playing soft music in the background to help you focus.

4) Try journalling or free writing before turning on the internet.

Set a timer for five or ten minutes and just write whatever comes into your head, without stopping to edit or worry about spelling or grammar. This can help get the creative juices flowing and warm up your brain for writing later in the day.

5) A change of space. 

If you want to write in the morning, but you’re struggling, try writing in a different location each day, or at least mix things up a bit. If you typically write at your kitchen table, try taking your laptop outside to the porch or park or working at a coffee shop instead. A change of scenery can help jumpstart the creative process!

If you’re not a morning person, don’t despair – there are plenty of other times during the day when you can get your creative juices flowing. Try setting aside some time each day to brainstorm new ideas or work on developing existing ones. If you can’t seem to get started, try brainstorming in the evening before bedtime or whenever you have some free time during the day. The important thing is to find a routine that works for you and stick with it! Want to know more about your writing routine? Click here for my fun quiz.

Do you have any other tips for jumpstarting your creativity in the morning? Share them with me here.

If you want to read something similar, check out the following:

How to Find the Time to Write
How To Set Effective Writing Goals

Coaching Productivity

11 Ways to Get Ideas When You Don’t Feel Like Writing

Do you ever feel like you don’t have any ideas? It can be frustrating when this happens. But don’t worry – we’ve all been there! In this blog post, I will share eleven ways to get ideas when you don’t feel like writing.

1) Get reading.

Reading can help jumpstart your brain and get the creative juices flowing. Try reading a book in a genre you don’t usually read. This can help open your mind to new possibilities and give you fresh ideas.

2) Free-writing.

Practice free-writing: Set a timer for five minutes and just write whatever comes to mind, without stopping to edit or judge what you’re writing. This can help clear your mind.

3) Get outside!

Take a walk: Sometimes, the best way to get inspired is to change your scenery. Go for a walk outside and take in the fresh air. Who knows, you might even come up with an idea for your next story while you’re out exploring!

4) Mindmap.

Mindmap with a friend: this can be a great way to come up with new ideas and get feedback on those ideas from someone else. If you’re feeling stuck, try meeting up with a friend or colleague and bouncing some ideas off of them. You may be surprised at what they come up with!

5) Research.

Do some research: If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, try doing some research. This can be anything from reading articles to watching documentaries. By learning more about your topic, you may be able to come up with new and interesting ways to approach it.

6) Journal.

Keep a journal. Write down any thoughts or ideas that come to mind, no matter how random they may seem. You never know when something you jotted down will turn into a great piece of writing.

7) Talk to others.

Talk to people: One of the best ways to get ideas is to talk to others. Ask them about their thoughts on your genre, or see if they have any suggestions for what you could write about. You may be surprised at how much inspiration you can find just by having a conversation with someone else.

8) Get prepped.

Get organised: This may seem like an odd way to get ideas, but sometimes getting your thoughts down in a more organised way can help you see things from a different perspective. Try making a list of potential topics or chatting through ideas with a friend. This can help you identify gaps in your thinking and come up with new angles to approach your topic.

9) Rest.

Take a break: If you’ve been sitting at your desk for hours trying to come up with something to write about, it may be time to take a break. Get up and stretch, or take a quick walk around the block. Taking time away from your work can help refresh your mind and give you new ideas.

10) Keep a record.

Keep a list of ideas: One way to ensure you always have something to write about is to keep a list of ideas handy. Whenever you think of a new novel idea, add it to your list. That way, when you’re feeling uninspired, you can always refer back to your list for some ideas.

11) Ask what your ideal reader wants.

Ask your readers: If you’re struggling to develop a new idea, why not ask your readers what they want to read? Send out a survey or poll on social media and see what topics your audience is most interested in. Not sure who your ideal reader is? Check out this blog post!

By taking some time away from thinking about writing, you may find that the ideas start flowing more easily. Try out different methods and see which ones work best for you. And who knows? Maybe one of these methods will even become your go-to method for generating new ideas. Do you have any other techniques for getting ideas when you don’t feel like writing? Let me know here!

Want to read something similar? Check these blog posts out:

The Power of Taking Responsibility for Your Writing Journey
5 Books on Writing That Will Improve Your Craft

Craft Publishing

How to Edit Creative Writing for Clarity, Style and Substance

If you’re not sure how to edit your creative writing, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many writers struggle with this part of the process. But with a little guidance, it’s easy to improve your writing and make it shine.

No one writes a perfect first draft. Even the most experienced authors need to revise their work for clarity, style and substance. In this blog post, I will discuss how to edit your creative writing for maximum impact using clarity, style and substance, making your writing more interesting and engaging. Let’s get started!

One of the most important aspects of editing is clarity. When you edit your work, you want to make sure that it is easy to understand. You don’t want your readers to be confused or lost. To improve clarity:

  1. Look for ways to make your writing more concise and straightforward.
  2. Cut out unnecessary words and phrases.
  3. Make sure that each sentence has a clear purpose. If something doesn’t make sense, rewrite it until it does.

Your editing task: Focus on clarifying your ideas. Make sure each sentence is clear and concise. If a sentence is confusing or hard to understand, reword it or break it down into shorter sentences.

Style is another important consideration when you edit your work. You want your writing to be readable and enjoyable. To improve style, pay attention to the way you use language. Use strong verbs and an active voice whenever possible. Avoid long, complex sentences. Be consistent with spelling, punctuation and grammar rules.

Your editing task: Are your sentences too long or too short? Do you use too many adjectives or adverbs? Make sure your writing is easy to read and flows smoothly.

Finally, make sure your writing has substance. Are you driving the narrative forward? In a first draft, we can easily get distracted, add information dumps, or write about something unnecessary to the plot. In editing, it’s time to make sure that your scenes and chapters drive the story forward and that anything unnecessary is taken out. We want to keep the reader engaged throughout.

Your editing task: Check for information dumps and any writing that isn’t driving the narrative forward.

Editing can be a challenge, but with these tips in mind, you can improve your creative writing. Don’t be afraid to rework your sentences – it’s all part of the process!

Thanks for reading! I hope this post was helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know here. If you’re looking for an editor, click here. 

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How to Start a Daily Writing Habit

I often talk about how important it is to find a writing schedule that works for you, and for me, writing every day doesn’t work, and that’s okay. However, it might be that it does work for you, or you want to give it a go. So, how do you create a daily writing habit?

It can be hard to make time for writing when you’re already so busy. And it’s even harder to find the motivation to sit down and write every day – but it’s not impossible. In this blog post, I will discuss tips and tricks for starting a daily writing habit. I will also provide resources that can help keep you motivated and on track!
The first step is to set aside some time each day for writing. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, but you can start by giving yourself at least 20 minutes to write. If you can’t find that much time in your schedule, start with 5 minutes and work your way up. The important thing is to be consistent. If you respond better to word count goals than time goals, try setting a daily word count goal to keep yourself motivated. Start small, and then gradually increase your goal as you get more comfortable writing each day. Track your progress and give yourself a pat on the back when you reach your goal. This will help keep you motivated and on track.

Find a place where you can write without distractions. This might be a quiet room in your house or a coffee shop with good Wi-Fi, where no one will bother you. Turn off your phone and any other devices that might distract you, and just focus on writing. An excellent resource for this is the Forest App – one of my favourite productivity apps.

If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, carry a notebook and jot down any interesting thoughts you have throughout the day. A great app for this is Evernote – it allows you to capture more than notes, including photographs.

Find someone who also wants to start writing more regularly and hold each other accountable. This could be a friend, family member, or even an online community of writers. Having someone to encourage and support you can make all the difference.

Finally, don’t forget to give yourself some grace when it comes to your daily writing habit. If you miss a day (or two), don’t beat yourself up about it. Just pick up where you left off and keep going.

So there you have it, a few simple tips to help you start a daily writing habit. Just remember to be patient, consistent and to set yourself realistic goals, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a better writer. Good luck!

Want a hand creating your daily writing habit? Click here to book a Discovery Call!

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Investigating Creative Writing Advice: Never Use Passive Voice

When it comes to writing, there are all sorts of rules and pieces of advice that you’ll hear from different people. Some of it is good advice, while other bits are nothing more than personal preferences masquerading as hard-and-fast rules. Today, we’re going to take a look at one of those bits of advice: never use the passive voice. Let’s take a closer look at this writing advice and see if it holds up under scrutiny.

The passive voice is often seen as bad, mainly because it can make writing sound dull, wordier, and sometimes less clear. However, there are times when the passive voice can be used to your advantage. For example, if you want to downplay the importance of something, using the passive voice can help you do that.

Now, before we dive in, it’s important to understand what the passive voice is. In a nutshell, the passive voice happens when the subject of a sentence is being acted upon by the verb. For example:

The door was closed by a gust of wind.

In this sentence, “the door” is the subject and “was closed” is the verb. The sentence is in the passive voice because the subject (the door) is not doing anything; it’s being acted upon by something else (the wind).

So now that we know what the passive voice is, let’s talk about whether or not you should avoid it at all costs.

Well, the answer is…maybe. You see, there are times when using the passive voice can be perfectly acceptable (even preferable). For example, you may want to draw attention to your character (the ‘doer’). In this case, using the passive voice can actually be helpful because it takes the focus off of the action itself. If you want to put the focus on the action, an active voice works great.

So, let’s consider the above sentence re-written in the active voice:

A gust of wind closed the door.

The active voice can make a difference, but it’s not always best.

Would you like a hack for checking whether you are writing in an active or passive voice? Next time you’re starting to write a sentence and find yourself using the word “was,” you may be writing in a passive voice.

So, what’s the verdict? Is the advice to never use the passive voice always good advice? No, it’s not. There are times when the passive voice can be used effectively.

Do you have any other questions about the passive voice? Let me know here. Happy writing!

Want to read something similar? Check out the following!

Investigating Creative Writing Advice: Show, Don’t Tell.
Investigating Creative Writing Advice: Write What You Know