1. TLK
    Offline

    TLK Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2013
    Messages:
    272
    Likes Received:
    35

    Repition.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by TLK, May 6, 2013.

    Repetition

    Hey guys,

    I have a simple, get annoying problem, that I'd like your advice on.

    Simply put, I have three teenager friends who play crucial in my novel - think Harry, Ron and Hermione. However, when I refer to them, I always end up referring to them as "the three teenagers" or "the three friends", or else just listing their names. It just sounds stupid, repetitive and, if I list their names, a bit of a mouthful. I just can't seem to avoid doing so, though.

    Any advice? Any ways I can avoid having to say these things, or ways I can not refer to them?

    Thanks! :)
     
  2. LordKyleOfEarth
    Offline

    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,249
    Likes Received:
    80
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX. USA
    Give them [the group] a name. It gives you another option to work with.
     
  3. chicagoliz
    Offline

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Is it necessary to constantly refer to them as a group? Hard to say in the abstract, but maybe you wouldn't need to refer to them as a group if you can refer to them as individuals doing or saying something. Showing a conversation or some type of cooperative endeavor might better serve the story.
     
  4. squishytheduck
    Offline

    squishytheduck Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2013
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Why don't you read HP and see how Rowling did it? It never struck me as an issue in that series.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,723
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    This.
     
  6. chicagoliz
    Offline

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I am actually reading it now with my son. We're almost done with the second book, and I'm mostly surprised at how poorly written I'm finding it, so I'm reluctant to hold it up as any sort of ultimate role model. However, I don't recall her referring to the threesome as a trio or as a threesome or as a group. More often, if I recall correctly, she talks about Harry doing something. Then she references Ron and Hermione. There is quite a bit of "Ron and Hermione," actually. So, for whatever that's worth -- I agree that maybe the OP should pull out his old HP books and see how Rowling did it.
     
  7. TLK
    Offline

    TLK Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2013
    Messages:
    272
    Likes Received:
    35
    Yeah, for some odd reason, ready Harry Potter again never struck me as an option. But, like chicagoliz said, from what I remember, it's largely centred around Harry. My three are more collected at the moment, they're all feeling lost and are being led around, so they tend to feel or do similar things, for example:

    "The three teenagers were awed by what they saw."

    Or

    "The three friends leapt back in fright but were quickly assured that the thing was not dangerous"

    Stuff like that. From what I remember from Harry Potter, it's often Harry doing stuff separately. I'll still give it a re-read though! :)
     
  8. Thornesque
    Offline

    Thornesque Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2012
    Messages:
    456
    Likes Received:
    71
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    Maybe find (a) word(s) synonymous with "trio?" Or use trio itself.
     
  9. Yoshiko
    Offline

    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    27
    Writing Buddy Post

    This is why I haven't read past book five. Even then I only read the fifth volume because I needed something to occupy my mind one Christmas Day (growing up I occasionally celebrated Christmas on a later date because of my father's job requiring him to work holidays).


    Is the word "they" not sufficient? I know it's not an exciting word, but as a reader I would like to see a writer express any repetitive phrases in as few words as possible. Couldn't you even scrap "three"? I've never felt the need when writing about a group of characters to refer to them in their numbers.
     
  10. squishytheduck
    Offline

    squishytheduck Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2013
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Dude, if you got through the first five books, you've already suffered through the brunt of it. She got better and better with each book, and by the sixth and seventh, I was pretty impressed by her progress. Either that or she got better editors...

    Not saying you have to read them or anything...
     
  11. adampjr
    Offline

    adampjr Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'd read the last book, it's actually not half-bad.

    Or you could use the word 'Trinity' :D
     
  12. squishytheduck
    Offline

    squishytheduck Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2013
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    LOL! Trifecta. Triumvirate.
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. adampjr
    Offline

    adampjr Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    1
    ^ Those are good too.
     
  14. The Byzantine Bandit
    Offline

    The Byzantine Bandit Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    5
    My Intro to Catechetics professor actually referred to two of my friends and me as "the trinity" during a class when we answered too many questions!


    Back to the OP: Call them a band or company. It sounds neat and kind of heroic. Then again, if you use "band" they might think you're doing a Guardians of Ga'Hoole takeoff.
     
  15. bluejt2000
    Offline

    bluejt2000 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    4
    Whose viewpoint are you writing from? Judging from what you've posted here, you're using an omniscient narrator. It might help if you wrote each scene from the VP of a single character; then you wouldn't have to refer to all three at once.

    E.g., Harry was awed by what he saw. Judging by the way Ron and Hermione stared open-mouthed at the thing, they were too.
     
  16. Sue Almond
    Offline

    Sue Almond Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2013
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Canary Isles
    Just vary it, use any of the above suggestions at different times but I do think you need to mention them individually by name some of the time if you want the reader to get to know them as individuals. they will surely have some personal quirks and personality differences that you want to get across. So the 'harry was awed by what he saw........ they were too' idea is useful even if they are all doing the same thing.
     
  17. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    alternatives:

    the three
    the trio
    the kids
    the pals
    they
    them
     
  18. Thornesque
    Offline

    Thornesque Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2012
    Messages:
    456
    Likes Received:
    71
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    I would also like to point out that, if there's a single quality that sets these three apart from the rest of the people in the rest of your novel, they could be referred to by that aspect. There are four redheads in my family, myself included, and every Christmas, my aunt takes a picture of all of us together. So we'll all be outside, and we'll hear "ALL THE REDHEADS OVER TO AUNT SUE'S HOUSE!"

    I'm not saying that this is necessarily the case in your novel, but if there is something that these three individuals have that set them apart, that could be another way of referencing them.
     
  19. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    As much as possible, put the focus on one of them at a time. If they all do the same thing together, focus on the one who initiated the action. Unless they are brain-synchronized and fused hip to hip, there will be few times when there truly is no one leading off the action.

    Be creative!
     
  20. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,723
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I agree with Cog. I also want to emphasize that you don't have to keep referring to them as a group. If you just establish that they're all in the same room, or are all on the same journey, the reader will assume they're all there. Just have one character take the lead and the readers will assume the others are following. Just keep mentioning the others from time to time so the reader remembers they're there. If you concentrate on Harry too much, then fifty pages later Hermione says something, you don't want the reader saying "Hermione? Where did she come from?"
     
  21. Xatron
    Offline

    Xatron Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    6
    What cog said.


    Also, if you read through the first 5 books you should read the 7th as well Yoshiko. It is the best of the series and the only one worth the paper it is printed on.
     
  22. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    as in:

    tom and his pals went
    joe and the other two
    harry led them into

    and so on.............
     
  23. Sunny1000
    Offline

    Sunny1000 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    1
    You can always split action between them too. If something happens one of them may notice then draw the others' attention to it. For example rather than

    The trio turned at the quiet squeak.

    You could have (just made up names):

    Peter heard the faintest squeak and turned, the others hadn't heard it. Reaching out as silently as he could manage, his fingers brushed Steph's jumper in gentle alert, knowing she would turn to look at him he nodded in the direction of the sound etc etc etc

    So one or two characters can split up what happens in a story, this might help give you more opportunities to write where you can avoid having to use grouping.
     
  24. Yoshiko
    Offline

    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    27
    I'll pass. I disliked the series more with each book, hence why I didn't bother with the last two.
     
  25. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Well-placed dialogue can play a part as well.

    Joe checked his watch. "Yikes! Guys, we gotta run. We're supposed to be at ... in ten minutes."

    Depending on prior context, you might be able to drop the last sentence. You don't need to follow the dialogue with them actually leaving; it's implied.
     

Share This Page