Review Request - Arcana Magi (Revised Ed.)

Good Afternoon Everyone,

I'm seeking new reviews for my Web Serial Novel, Arcana Magi (Revised). I fixed as many grammatical errors as I could. Chapters 1-3 got a bit of an overhaul, but not enough to change or retcon the entire story so everything should be consistent. Chapters 4-6 only had the Passive Voice and most "was" statements removed. I don't how much of an improvement the changes are overall, but what I do know is that no one should come across a single Passive Voice and badly written "was" sentence.

For those of you who toughed it out reading all six chapters, I thank you for your effort. For those of you who did enjoy the story but got turned off by the writing, I apologize for the disappointment and I will keep improving my writing to make sure the story is enjoyable and exciting.

Thank you,

H-M Brown

Hi H-M,

FYI, use of "was" and passive voice are not the same thing. I hope you didn't just indiscriminately remove all occurrences of "was" -- it's a perfectly valid (and necessary) tense of the verb "to be". Passive voice is when things are written in such a way as to shift the focus from the doer to the done. That last sentence being its own example. ;-) It's often a bad choice for fiction because it diffuses responsibility for the action in the story, which tends to make for a boring read -- because, in stories, who did what is usually more important than what was done.

You can find a good discussion of passive voice here:


The website is helpful. Thank you.

I didn't get rid of every "was" sentence in the story. They are scarce throghout the story but there were two things that I felt I misused "was" outside of Passive voice.

1) I found "was" in some sentences that were unusually long. By removing "was" the sentences soon broke apart and became two or three seperate sentences.

2) I wrote "was" like this 'she was calling' when I could have just wrote 'she called'.

There were some instances where I couldn't get rid of "was" because of the tone of scene. 'She wondered what the Sentinel dreamed about. If there was some way, she could go in and comfort her.'

Now I hate "was" and "to be". Why did mankind make such a complicated word? ;)

@ Chris, you're right that passive voice isn't just using the word "was", but I was taught that editing to reduce the use of "was" is a simple way to check passiveness. It's worked for me.

@ H-M, "there was" is a funny construction. I don't know how it's formally defined in English grammar, but I do know that in Spanish, it's actually a separate verb from "was" - haber (there be) instead of ser/estar (to be). Go figure.

Well I am sure capriox would agree that I wrote a cluster of "was" lines at various points of the story. Like the first three lines of chapter one. I'm not sure about the other 'to be' verbs like "had" and "were". I took out those part with passive voice as well.

I'm glad to know in the Passive Voice Website, that they are not the bane of all writing. I guess one could say it's an artistic technique that could make or break a scene or story.

As long as I don't use the "to be verbs" before other verbs, or cluster them one line after another, then there should be no reason why my story on a grammatical level cannot be good. Then, it should all boil down to my storytelling, and keep the plot and characters tight knit consistent, so as to not let it unravel.

I don't know about "there was". It has been spoken aloud in certain situations like, "If there was anything I could do to help you, I would". I guess it's kind of like when there is a sense of helplessness or in hindsight of a situation. That's the best way I could describe "there was".