1. Coda
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    Coda New Member

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    Can't stop writing she and the characters names....please....help!

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Coda, May 4, 2010.

    I seem to be forever wrighting she, she, she or the names of the characters. What technique is there to get over this?
    Thanks :confused:
     
  2. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    You mean like:

    Alison looked at him. She felt scared. What was she going to do now? Although everything had been building up to this moment, all Alison wanted to do was escape.

    Terrible example, sorry. But it's not all that difficult to rewrite so there are less (or no) 'shes', and I try and mention the name a maximum of once in a paragraph. I try to use it only to clarify who I'm referring to, e.g:

    Alison looked at him. It was scary. What was going to happen next? Although everything had been building up to this moment, escape seemed the most attractive alternative.

    The good thing is that you are aware that you sometimes overuse 'she/he' and names, so--you have the power to change this! Good luck.
     
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  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Madhoca has given good advice.

    Remember that your reader brings a certain amount of their own brainpower to the work. Just like the fact that dialogue does not always need dialogue tags because it is often more than obvious who is doing the talking, description does not always need a pronoun to indicate to whom it refers. Again, it is often obvious. In those cases you can go the direction Madhoca has shown in her example and this will significantly reduce your she's and repeated character names.
     
  4. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Introduce a few male characters, Coda. You can't call them "she"! ;)

    And what's the deal with the superfluous "gh" in writing? You having a bad day? :)
     
  5. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, it's a great example, because it illustrates the problem well. And also because there are so many ways to rewrite it. Your way is fine; my way would be different -- not better, we just have different voices. I might write:

    "Alison looked at him. Beads of sweat formed on her brow, and her eyes flicked from side to side as if looking for an escape route."

    I've used "her", which seems to me to be a sufficient variation from "she" and "Alison". I've tried to show rather than tell her fear and desire to escape. And I've not mentioned that "everything had been building up to this moment" because unless this is the start of the story, in media res, the reader should know that. If this were the start of the story -- well the truth is that I'd allow myself my first "she" for that last bit of information, but if I really wanted to avoid it I might do something like, "All that trouble, all that effort to get here -- but how long would it take to make a dash for that door?"
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    in addition to the advice given above, i have to add this:

    READ how the best writers in the business do it!
     
  7. CaliWriterWV
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    CaliWriterWV Member

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    Wow, I have this problem as well! So this post is very helpful! Thank you.
     
  8. Coda
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    Coda New Member

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    Thanks

    Thanks everyone :D
     
  9. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    That should probably be an automated answer to every question in this topic :D
     
  10. CaliWriterWV
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    CaliWriterWV Member

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    That's not always enough, though. It takes more than just reading it...you need explanations to help further.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you depend on other people's explanations, you miss out on the subtleties you pick up by figuring it out for yourself.

    The more you can discover with your own mind, the more you exercise your own analytic skills, the better you will understand.
     
  12. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    True, but it's always a good starting point :)
     
  13. CaliWriterWV
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    CaliWriterWV Member

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    That's true too, Cogito. Can't the same be said about a person looking to other people's writing, though?
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I presume you mean other people's writings about writing, as opposed to writing in the a style you wish to master.

    You may, in fact learn things you had not thought of in your own studies of other authors' work. But the more you have learned on your own, the better prepared you are to evaluate the truth or fallacy of assertions made about writing.

    After all, that is why people join sites like this -- to pick up ideas that would not have occurred to them otherwise.

    But you should always take such advice with a grain of salt. Test the advice against actual pieces of writing, to determine to what extent it holds true.

    The critical analysis must come first. It's a necessary tool for true learning, as opposed to collecting a set of rules and guidelines with varying (and unknown) degrees of reliability.
     

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