And while anyone can write any way they want, excerpts from things published in the last five years would be more indicative of what can sell, now.
Okay. Here ya go. These are excerpts from the last three books I bought.
"The first time Miranda Blackwood checked the back of her closet for a portal to another world she was eleven. That was the year her mother died
." First two sentences of Gwenda Bond's first novel Blackwood
. Released 2012.
"The smell of blood was thick in the crisp morning air as Marshal Mart Duggan dismounted, his boots finding solid earth a few inches beneath the snow
." Opening sentence from Lee Collins' debut novel The Dead of Winter
. Released 2012. Also, from the third paragraph: "Standing up again, Duggan surveyed the clearing. Bits of clothing and strips of dripping flesh dangled from the nearby branches, but there was nothing that resembled a body. Blood-spattered snow was heaped against the tree trunks, exposing strands of yellow grass
From page 91 of my paperback edition of Yann Martel's Life of Pi
. Copyright 2001. "Animals were sedated, cages were loaded and secured, feed was stored, bunks were assigned, lines were tossed, and whistles were blown. As the ship was worked out of the dock and piloted out to sea, I wildly waved goodbye to India. The sun was shining, the breeze was steady, and seagulls shrieked in the air above us. I was terribly excited
I'm not sure why those are relevant. I didn't suggest that all uses of "was" should be excised.
but since we are taking excepts, let me look at the beginnings of some recent things I wrote:
Roland Datura looked down on the small corpse, exploring the scene. This was the eightieth he looked upon in the last twenty years, and like the others, she had just turned nine years old.
one -ing verb, one was, and I used the verb "looked" twice. I should change that last one.
The swanboat slid across the surface of the still tropical sea like an ice skater on a frozen lake, the eight silent spectral oarsmen rowing in perfect unison. The sail hung slack in the still air.
I need to get rid of that -ing verb, not needed at all.
Joyce shuffled out of the bathroom, across the carpeted floor of her bedroom, her footie pajamas making a slick sound against the berber.
dang, another -ing verb. I should carve that into two sentences.
I’m not one to judge, much less be jury and executioner, unless I know all the pertinent facts, and I’m wise enough to know that one side of the story seldom tells you everything you need to know.
Hmm... my hick first-person narrator didn't have these problems.
Princess Elinor felt naked as she stood before her mother. She only wore a tiny pair of legless underpants, tied with a drawstring, and a delicate sleeveless shirt with a scooped collar adorned by a small ribbon evoking a pink rose.
"felt" is a verb that should be used seldom. meh, maybe it's OK here.
Duke Rumeal was a man at the top of his game. He lounged in the parlor of the house he appropriated from a former wealthy landowner; he was looking at the daily reports from his officers.
in my defense, this is literally a first draft.
Why did I post that? Besides the hope that those beginnings will cause someone to ask to read them?
Only to show that we should always be self-critical.