All of my writerly life I have heard to not use was because it is a passive voice and passive voice makes for a passive read and readers like powerful stories that stick to their ribs. I cam across J. Timothy King's post on 7 ways to eradicate the copulative [word was]. After reading it, that was when I suddenly became obsessed with its abolition.
Here are some examples from another WiP that had me busting my brains to remove the offending word:
This was not home, nor was it anywhere near.
It’s very strangeness declared he had entered a realm far-removed from home. ...
There was no doubt where the Princesses headed, a cobblestone lane led the way through the thick forest.
A cobblestone lane led the way through the thick forest, leaving no doubt where the Princesses headed. ...
A minute ago, I happened across another post from Meljean, declaring the mistake writers do by advising newbie counterparts NOT to using was. WAS isn't as bad as we think. Okay, conflicting time! Click here to read her post.
Now my obsession to destroying WAS has slowed, but I am not sure anymore which is true. However, I did some more research and asked a friend I trust, my editor, on what he thinks about WAS. This is what *Clay Gilbert has to say about the infamous word:
"The main trick of avoiding the passive is to make sure you don't have a lot of sentence constructions where PEOPLE are having things done to them. You don't want your PEOPLE consistently being acted upon, but objects--well, that's what they're for."
Brilliant, Clay! It's so much clearer now.
What are your thoughts on WAS?
*Clay has a fabulous work of art in his Trilogy. Drop by and say hi!