Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tip of the week: getting rid of repetitive I, she or he

Nothing is more annoying to a reader than reading a book in which every sentence starts with I, she or he. Many new writers who haven't got the skills yet will walk into that trap. Beginning every second or third sentence with he, she, or I often reads clumsy and disturbs the flow.
While repetition can enhance a certain passage, it can become rather monotone if used throughout a book.
But how to get rid of it?
Easy: by rephrasing, playing with the words.

Here is an example:
He opened the windows to see better. He stood there for another five minutes. He admired the woman walking in the garden. He hadn't seen her before. 

To see better, he opened the windows and admired the woman, which walked in the garden, for another five minutes. Who was she?

See the difference?

Another example:
I took the bus into the city. I couldn't afford a cab. I sat down and looked out the window. I was so annoyed with myself. I stared at the passing people barely noticing them.

A cab was not an option, not on my budget. Annoyed, I sat down and looked out the window, barely noticing the passing people.

I know the examples are a bit extreme, all I'm trying to say is to avoid this form of repetition unless it's absolutely necessary to use it for emphasises.

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