Past Progressive (was + -ing)

Now that I’m beginning to write full time, I’m aware once again of my writing style. I’m a fan of past progressive (pp).

Editors are not fond of pp and are likely to send your manuscript back with loads of red ink, changing the verbs to more direct, sharper language. I have ugly, painful manuscript pages as proof.

Active verbs are crisper and move the story along quicker. I use active verbs all the time, but pp is prominent throughout my books – especially my Susan Hunter books. I find it to be a softer style of writing.

I consider my books to be light and breezy, and pp works for me.  I’ve had loads of reviews with the comment, “The book was an easy read.” I think the flow of pp gives my books that ease.

Here’s an example from my current work in progress: When I ended the call, Jackie was staring at me with eyebrows raised.

I know full well an editor would change that to: When I ended the call, Jackie stared at me with eyebrows raised. And maybe even: When I ended the call, Jackie stared at me, eyebrows raised.

However, in my wording, I envision Jackie already had her eyebrows up so far, they were hidden under her bangs and her eyes were popping out. (That’s actually pretty good. I might have to make a change in the story to reflect that.) The raised eyebrows had already happened during the call and were an ongoing action.

In the editor’s wording, it feels as though Jackie raised her eyebrows after the main character ended the call – and likely only slightly.

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter, does it? They both work. But I am stubborn and want things my way.

I think I’m still a rebel when it comes to my overall style of writing. I haven’t completely given up exclamation points (although they have been tamed), and I check every instance of passive voice in my writing and decide to keep many (most) of them – because I like them and because I can.

What’s your writing style? Do you have rebel tendencies? Maybe I’ll do a future post on circular writing. I was “circling back” before it was a thing. And for the record, just because a book is an easy read doesn’t mean it was easy to write. 😊