They Tell Writers of Fiction

NOT TO USE THE PASSIVE voice because it’s — well — passive. Weak. Some critters will even go so far as to tell you you should never use any construction with the verb to be.

As liars go, fictioneers have nothing on politicians.

So, the head of the GSA resigns under an ethical cloud. “Ethics are a big issue for me,” she said upon ascending to the office. Now we learn she actually mean she has issues with ethics. “Taxpayer funds were mis-spent,” she admits. Not, you will notice, “I mis-spent taxpayer funds.”

Mistakes were made. There were ethical lapses. Monies were mal-appropriated.

Please note the lack of an actor in each statement. Who made the mistakes? Whose ethics lapsed? Who mal-appropriated or mis-spent monies? These are questions that need to be asked, and sharply, repeatedly, until satisfactory answers are forthcoming. No. Shift that from passive to active voice. Until the miscreant in question fesses up.

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