1. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    Different words/phrases for "my father"

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by agentkirb, Aug 24, 2012.

    So I wrote this scene for a story where the MC's (Mike) girlfriend (Kari) meets the guy's dad (James Anderson) for the first time. I feel like I'm using the word "father" too much. A few things to note: the story is written in first person, and the MC's relationship with his father is a bit shaky, so that's why I always like to refer to him as his father rather than the less formal "dad".

    Here's a small snippet of the scene when he first shows up:

    And it goes on for the rest of the scene of course. My only thought would be to somehow change the wording of the sentences to avoid having to refer to his father in pronoun form. Anyone have any other advice?
     
  2. shaylyn
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    shaylyn Member

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    The first thing I thought of was, the fact that the MC refers to himself as "I" (being in first person) and the only other person besides the father being a girl, I see no reason that you can't use "he" instead of "my father" or "my dad"

    “You must be Mike’s father. I’m Kari,” Kari stood up and extended a hand in his direction.

    and

    taking out "Yes, I am his father" and replacing it with just "Yes. Mr. Anderson"
     
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  3. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    That's an idea. Although there is a waiter in the scene as well, but he has a name so I can just call him by his name.

    Does placing "he" in place of the bolded font make sense for that case? It seems weird to do so to me.
     
  4. shaylyn
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    shaylyn Member

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    That one fits just fine there. You can use both "my father" and "he"interchangeably until there is more than one man in a scene, then it's best to let the reader know who says or does what. In my opinion at least.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If your character has a term of endearment he or she is accustomed to using, you can use that in appropriate places as well for variety. You refer to him as "my dad" once already, so referring to him occasionally as Dad would work as well. although it'snot needed in this scene.

    But don't be afraid of "he" and "him", either. Pronouns tend to disappear for the reader, especially if the sentence structure varies. The only caveat I would raise is to be careful about pronoun ambiguity. That will draw unwanted focus to the pronoun, and that's when pronouns start resembling unsightly warts and zits.

    Repeated words are not always the blight your teachers have suggested. Trying too hard to avoid them is far more conspicuous, particularly for common, all-purpose words.
     
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  6. writerwannabe13
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    writerwannabe13 Member

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    I agree with with you I just might suggest:

    "Yes. Call me Mr. Anderson" or if the parent child relationship is good in your have him tell Kari "Yes. Please call me ____"
     
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  7. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    That is one of the problems... that there isn't a good parent-child relationship and so calling him by an informal name probably won't work.

    But in general I think you guys have given me a few good ideas. Thanks.
     
  8. Walshy1595
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    Walshy1595 Member

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    I feel like people could get confused by the use of "he" here, because you were talking about the waiter previously. My father might fit well there, but once again it sounds a little overused. You could probably replace the "my father" that's used directly after the Agent Smith impersonation, and keep the last paragraph as is. That's just my suggestion though, do with it what you will
     
  9. DanesDarkLand
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    DanesDarkLand Senior Member

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    Remember, its not always necessary to continue to refer to a person specifically. Your readers will understand when someone is responding to another's dialogue or action.

    “Mr. Anderson!” Kari replied in an almost flawless Agent Smith voice from ‘The Matrix’. I glared at Kari as he chuckled. She shrugged as if to say 'I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself.'

    There are plenty of ways to reword those sentences, and it would only be necessary if the dialogue or action continues to reflect the constant usage of the phrase 'my father'.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    here's one way to avoid too much repetition:

    ...you need to learn how to do dialog tags properly... see how i corrected them above... also need to study the rules of comma usage... much of this would benefit from a rewrite, to simplify and make better sense, as well... hope this helps some...

    love and hugs, maia
     

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