Do you readers a favor and make a pass through your manuscript in search of "be" words.
Any time you see is, am, are, was, were, be, being, or been, figure out if you could rewrite without losing any meaning.
We were in a blue and orange hot air balloon and were looking all around. It was quiet—until this huge gust of wind started up. Before we knew what was going on, our balloon was out of control. The pilot was pulling on the cord to try to lift us above the air current we were stuck in. We were thrown against each other as we headed toward a tall building. Everyone was scared even though we were trying to be calm. Miraculously, we lifted until we were as high as the roof and hit it, hard. The basket was dragging along, knocking over the air conditioning units.
Great action, but BO-ring! How about a rewrite?
We soaked in the view as our blue and orange hot air balloon climbed. The higher we rose, the quieter everything became—until a huge gust of wind hit. We lost control even as the pilot pulled on the cord to try to lift us above the air current. We stumbled and fell against each other as we headed toward a tall building. Everyone looked like they wanted to scream, but no one did. Miraculously, we rose and hit the roof, hard. The basket dragged along, knocking over the air conditioning units.
The rewrite isn’t perfect, but eliminating “be” words makes it tighter and more interesting.
—Ann Kellett, Ph.D.
Ann Kellett Editing