1. AlVic
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    AlVic Member

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    Dresser. Dresser. Dresser. Dresser.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by AlVic, Sep 16, 2014.

    So, I'm working on this story. One of the main plot points is the protagonist's obsession with a haunted dresser he bought online. Pro: works well for the story. Con: Dresser. Dresser. ****ing dresser. In the 5000 words I have so far, "dresser" occurs 19 times. I suppose it can sort of highlight his obsession over it, but is that too many times?

    What can I do to cut down on it if it doesn't work well?
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, you could try synonyms. Bureau, chest of drawers, etc. But then you run into the "there's no perfect synonym" problem.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Since it's so much in his mind, can you reduce it to "it" more often than you would for an item that's only occasionally mentioned? And can he focus on details about it? The drawers, the scrollwork, the turned legs, the finish?

    For example, in the house.

    He walked back to the bedroom for another look. Eight drawers, four narrow and shallow across the top, then four oversized ones, almost too heavy to yank out even empty. He'd better get some soap for the runners. And brass polish for those knobs.

    While he's out:

    He pulled into the parking lot at McMann's. Brass polish. Soap. Joe had suggested runners to fix the stuck drawers, but he just couldn't bring himself to drill a hole through that old mahogany.

    No use of the word "dresser". If he's obsessed, then the actual word may not need to be said.

    Edited to add: And you could refer to his feelings about it or the process of getting it or of thinking about it:

    "I tracked down a new treasure that I want to show you."

    "So where's this acquisition that you're making so much of?"

    "How's your new project going?"
     
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  4. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    Lots of options: "the piece", "the object", etc.
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Listen to @ChickenFreak. That's good advice. You may be leading your reader on a leash and assuming you must say dresser every time it enters the stream of thought. Not the case at all.

    Speaking of case, in antiquing and in the general furniture trade, a dresser would belong to those articles of furniture known as case goods.
     
  6. AlVic
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    AlVic Member

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    Got it down to 14 for now. If anyone has any other ideas, let me know

    Edit: Oh, and thanks. Sorry
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
  7. PensiveQuill
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    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

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    Are people's sense impressions and obssessions defined solely by words? I think not. When I am mid-obssessed with something it hits all of my senses. For example if I was obssessed by an antique dresser then say the smell of beewax furniture polish might ping my mind about it. The appearance of cracked french polish on a chair somewhere else might also ping me. If I catch my reflection in a shop window it might flash at me again. You could alude to the dresser by using all sense's, leading the reader back to the idea without spelling it out.

    Of course, if you were really clever the repetition of the word dresser itself could become a phonic device that improves the story rather than irritates. But I haven't the faintest idea how such a thing would be done....sorry.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
  8. AlVic
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    AlVic Member

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    It's fine. All of this is really helpful. I think the "hearkening device" is the aura that he feels when he's around it. Just thinking about it makes him feel calm and collected, which does give me ideas to replace a few more dressers.

    Edit: Also, some of the larger replacements are adding to my word count, which is never a bad thing. Phrases like "Object of his affection", which is also kind of a play on words
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014

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