Tags:
  1. Pops
    Offline

    Pops New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    Use of pronouns?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Pops, Sep 5, 2008.

    Hi everybody...I've been writing for a few months now, and every time I show what I've done to somebody, the person always tell me there are too many personal pronouns. Anybody knows how I could reduce the use of these pronouns? Do you use them frequently yourself? What what can you replace them when you write in the first person?
    Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. Jade
    Offline

    Jade Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    England, UK
    Have you got a small example so we can see properly what you mean?
     
  3. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I had to delete the last couple of posts, because it was switching from general discussion to a critique of an extract.

    All critique MUST take place in the Review Room forums, after meeting the reviewing requirements.

    As for your question, That is one reason to avoid a first person perspective. It is a much harder perspective to write well in, but the key is to mostly look outward. However, you usually might as well write in third person then, in most cases.

    You can nearly always substitute a noun for a third person pronoun, unlike first person. Also, if you vary the sentence structure so the pronouns don't begin every sentences, they won;t stick out as much.
     
  4. Pops
    Offline

    Pops New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    I apologize...I am not looking for a critic, I just wanted to help people see what my problem was. I'm sorry :)
     
  5. Still Life
    Offline

    Still Life Active Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2007
    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Between a rock and a hard place.
    I only use an abundance/over-abundance of pronouns for stylistic purposes. I like my stories to flow well, and it works in some cases, though very rarely. Despite what Cogito says, I find it very easy to write in first-person (I only need to write what that character knows or thinks he/she knows, and in that way, I can bend their perspective and in turn the reader's perspective to my whim). Plus, you get that extra close leverage with first person POV (imho). I find it very difficult to write in third person, but if that's you're thing, then I suggest you take up Cogito's advice.

    If you're a person who feels more comfortable in first-person, though, I would suggest doing just a simple exercise: Read writers who write in that POV. Just to get a flow of how their sentence structures work. You could even try mimicking their style as an exercise. It helped me to maintain the general flow of my writing without totally boring the reader, and/or using to many I's, He's, She's, etc.

    Like Jade mentioned earlier, we wouldn't be able to offer much help without the excerpt. I would suggest you meet the reviewing requirements and then post up your work sometime, so that we could see. :)
     
  6. NaCl
    Offline

    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,855
    Likes Received:
    58
    Pops, if the POV is clear in a paragraph, you can get away with using very few pronouns. Just describe the action and let the connection with the person be intuitive. For example:

    "Gary fanned his hand across the space above the pot to see if it the water was boiling yet. He had only been blind since the accident and was just beginning to learn how to use other senses to meet his daily needs. His fingers passed into the cloud of hot water vapor, scalding the tips before he realized just how hot it was. He stumbled to the sink and ran cold water over the sensitive burns." (note: sentences began with "Gary, "He", "His" , "He" - boring paragraph structure)

    Here is the same scene restructured to reduce the use of pronouns.

    "Gary fanned his hand above the pot to see if the water was boiling yet. Since the accident, other senses that had always been taken for granted became essential, even for such simple tasks as preparing a meal. His fingers swept into the unseen cloud of steam, scalding them in the fraction of a second between exposure and realization of just how hot it was. Stumbling quickly to the kitchen sink, cold water temporarily relieved the pain of his burns." (note: sentences begin with "Gary", "Since", "His", "Stumbling" - makes for a more interesting paragraph)

    If the POV of the paragraph is clear, (in this case the entire paragraph is about Gary's unfortunate lesson as a new blind person) some pronouns can be replaced by simple narrative describing the action. The connection to a person (pronoun) is either understood, or as Cog suggested, restructured later in the sentence.

    BTW - this example is a real life situation of my friend Dave. I watched him "learn" how to be blind. For example, he would stick one finger down into a glass when he was filling it with water, soda, etc. That was how he avoided overflowing the glass. At first, he sat down on the toilet to pee . . . couldn't "aim" while standing. He bought socks made of different fabrics with each different fabric being a specific color so he could match pair colors after laundering.
     
  7. Fatalism
    Offline

    Fatalism Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    1
    You could use that person's name, or a description, etc: 'I hate that whiney girl." Instead of: "I hate whiney people like her."

    You can try rewording it too, try to use perhaps the description or name
     

Share This Page