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Or, your writing would be tighter and more active if you would lose those “feelings.” Today, we’re going to talk about the word, “felt.” I’ve seen many authors try to make their writing more active (as opposed to passive) by getting rid of “was” and replacing it with “felt.” However, we have to understand that “felt” can be as passive as “was” can be. Although–and please listen to me here–neither WAS nor FELT are always passive. Both words have their place in a story, so don’t be afraid to use them; just use them well.

So felt: Let’s take a look at what we can do to Active-ate some sentences.

He felt the hair on the back of his neck stand on end.
The hair on the back of his neck stood on end.

She felt the blood drain from her face.
The blood drained from her face.

She felt the light touch of his fingers on her shoulder.
The light touch of his fingers on her shoulder [insert reaction here].

She felt sick to her stomach.
She fought back the nausea.

He was sure the only way to fix the problem was to tell the truth now.
He felt sure the only way to fix the problem was to tell the truth now.
[both of the above are the same]
The only way to fix the problem was to tell the truth.
Only telling the truth would fix the problem.
[If we’re in “his” point of view, then we know these are his thoughts/feelings/beliefs]

He felt the muscle in his leg protest the workout.
The muscle in his leg protested the workout.

She felt her hair move in the breeze
The breeze ruffled her hair.
Her hair moved in the breeze.

Hope these brief examples will give you a little more insight in how to tighten your work when you begin your next edit or new project.

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