The url below will take you to a short story:
Tall Tales from the Mekong Delta.
It was the Best American Short Story Winner 1991 and O.Henry Prize winner, originally published in Squandering the Blue, (a short story collection):
It contains a hulla bunch of passive constructions, and telling (actual example: 'she was angry'). This story would probably have got critted off the page by any crit group.
This fascinates me.
Someone said at FM recently that the rules of writing are to be learned, and carried around, but not necessarily adhered to.
A while ago I broke down three extracts from published fiction into different categories: dialogue, description, internal reflection, and action.
One of those stories was a piece of lit fic, a bestseller, written in the first person. In a three hundred word extract picked at random (I took the middle page of each book), all of the actions began with 'I...'
Yet the excerpt didn't seem repetitive. I speculated that the writing was so strong, that the situation, tension, and imagery were so much more prevalent than the sentence structure, that the reader was well and truly sucked in, and the professional author 'got away' with it.
Now, a good few months later, I think it's more than that. I think a writer needs to be bold enough to write a scene the way it needs to be written.
I believe mastery of the craft should be pursued, and that the choices we make when writing should be enlightened ones borne of knowledge of the benefits of different methods. However, I'm beginning to think that there are no writing sins for an author who knows both their craft, and how to excite the reader.
I now believe that there is a place for every technique, including passive constructions and telling. Everything, in fact.