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Nancy Owens Barnes 
Author & Freelance Writer


Books -

South to Alaska

Moose for Breakfast




Published July 2009, Rushing River Press

Trade Paperback, 96 pages

PDF Ebook, 1.5 mb

Book Description

Many instructors and how-to books warn writers of using passive voice in their work, caused by a reliance on the “to be” verbs—the KILLER BEs. For writers hoping for publication, passive writing stings their chances. In How to Swat the KILLER BEs Out of Your Writing,  author Nancy Owens Barnes presents a handy booklet designed to assist beginning writers in turning their passive voice into active voice and allowing their writing to reach a new level.


"Reminiscent of the classic Strunk and White guide to style, How to Swat the KILLER BEs Out of Your Writing is a sleek book addressing one of the most vexing problems facing all writers: catching and changing passive voice into active voice once and for all. I will recommend Barnes' must-have guide to every student and editing client."

Elizabeth Lyon, editor and bestselling
author of six how-to books for writers

 "To Be, or not to be. The answer is not to be. "How to Swat the Killer Bes Out of Your Writing: Craft Your Passive Voice into Active Voice and Watch Your Writing Take Flight" is a guide to avoiding the nasty demon of amateur writers that is passive voice writing. Even the best story can be plagued with these mistakes, sabotaging one's work. "How to Swat the Killer Bes Out Your Writing" is a consideration for any aspiring author."

Midwest Book Review

"If Sister Alberta, my fifth, sixth, seventh and eight grade English teacher learns about this book, she’ll be doing handsprings in delight. Nancy Owens Barnes gets an A+ for this effort."

Kitty Delorey Fleischman, publisher and editor
of IDAHO MAGAZINE, and author of

The Bluebird Will Sing Tomorrow

"...an excellent book that can be used in two ways. It is a short lesson on how to write in active voice. Many writers confuse present tense with active voice. The second way this book can be used is a reference. I will keep it at my desk for I will soon be revising a novel and I want to swat some BEs."

Michael Marsden, author of three books including
his most recent novel, A Walk in the Rain

"This is a great source for the writer. The "Odds and Ends" is especially helpful and is much easier than digging through the massive "Chicago Manual of Style." I keep in next to my computer for constant reference, which should make much less grief for my editors in my future writings."

M. D. Kincaid, author of
Alaska Justice and Alaska & Beyond


Barnes' books also available through online booksellers and your local bookstores―

Copyright 2009 Nancy Owens Barnes