Repeating the subject

  1. DragonAether

    DragonAether A penguin undercover

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    I know for most of you may seem a stupid question, but I frequently find myself writing many times the subject, he, you, I and so on.

    A stupid example,
    He got near the microphone to start his speech, he was excited but scared while watching the crowded hall, he was talking but his mind was traveling, he finished his speech between the applause, the returned to reality when he got named for taking the diploma, a diploma that would have built his dream’s future in the ranks of the Centaurian’s fleet.

    This is the worst example I could find in my text.
    There is a way to don't repeat the subject as much as I did here.
     
    Dec 7, 2017
    #1
  2. Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    First of all, that shouldn't all be one long sentence. You can also switch between the name and the pronoun, for variety, and if you don't put the subject the same place in every sentence the pronoun will be practically invisible.

    So something like this: As George approached the microphone to start his speech, he was excited but scared by the size of the crowd. All the time he was talking, his mind was traveling elsewhere. As soon as he finished his speech there was loud applause, but he didn't really return to reality until they called his name for the diploma: the diploma that would build his dream's future in the ranks of the Centurion's fleet.
     
    Dec 7, 2017
    #2
  3. goldhawk

    goldhawk aurea plectro

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    There is no conflict in that paragraph. That's why it seems do bad.
     
    Dec 7, 2017
    #3
    DragonAether likes this.
  4. DragonAether

    DragonAether A penguin undercover

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    Many thanks Teresa, and damn if your version was awesome. The problem is not that it do bad, but reading it seems to read a poetry that starts with the same word each time, but in this case I find it pretty annoying.
     
    Dec 7, 2017
    #4
  5. Jo Zebedee

    Jo Zebedee writes books about people.

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    I wept over just such a scene where Teresa told me to make it a lot better (she was my editor) and this comes to mind

    1 - Slow it down. This is a list. If nothing else happens - why have this? If something else does - bring us in, immerse us. Slow the character experience down.
     
    Dec 8, 2017 at 12:13 AM
    #5
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  6. Toby Frost

    Toby Frost Well-Known Member

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    I find that if I'm writing in the first person, it's very hard not to start most of the sentences with "I". Anyhow, I think Teresa's version is spot-on. However, you do need to watch out for run-on sentences - ie putting a comma where a full stop (or a semicolon at the least) is required. Basically, each separate chunk of action generally needs to be a different sentence.

    You could do something like this: "He left the bathroom, walked across the hall and climbed the stairs", where you're presenting the action as a list where all of the verbs relate to the same subject (in this example, "He"). Alternatively, you could say "He left the bathroom. He walked across the hall. He climbed the stairs", but this is the kind of repetition that you're looking to avoid, and the short sentences imply a level of tension and action that probably isn't needed. What you can't really do is say "He left the bathroom, he walked across the hall, he climbed the stairs".
     
    Dec 8, 2017 at 9:17 AM
    #6
    zmunkz and DragonAether like this.
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