Tuesday, September 26, 2006

On Pronouns

What I've been reading: Envy and Richochet by Sandra Brown

What I'm working on: Chapter 13, and a re-read of Rescued Hearts after an agent requested a full this morning.

Can the work ever be done enough? Today it's all about pronouns versus proper names. Pronouns are 'invisible', or so 'they' say, but somehow a paragraph full of "he" or "she" seems to scream for a "Ryan" or "Frankie." After a contest judge circled all the "Ryans" on my entry, I went back to 'real' books on my shelf to see how the names on spines handled it in third person pov books. So much for listening to critique partners who say, "you used 'he' seventeen times on this page."

Today I'll be doing searches and replaces on my proper names. Given that the manuscript is 100,000 words, this entry is done.

4 comments:

Carol Ann Erhardt said...

I know exactly what you mean! Sometimes I just read aloud and use whatever sounds the best. Good luck with the edits.

Terry said...

Thanks -- it wasn't as tough as I thought it would be-- most of the time, I "intuitively" (I think) made the right choices. I did see that the prounoun usage kept things in a deeper POV, so whenever it was clear enough who was speaking/thinking/acting, I went with the pronoun.

It was a fairly easy choice in scenes where there were only 2 characters and they were of different genders, or if it was an instrospective section.

Emma_Sanders said...

Sometimes I like to be reminded of the "name" or hear the name mentioned again, though not excessivley. Neither do I want to read "he" or "she" excessively. Just goes to show you how everyone is so different in their preferences.

I see you read Sandra Brown. I LOVE Sandra Brown! :)

Terry said...

I actually went through another manuscript doing the same thing before I sent it off. Once I started thinking about it, the deep POV seemed to 'require' more of the he/she when there were only the two of them on the page. That is, the POV character would be referred to by the pronoun, but the other would have more proper name recognition.

When I used the proper name in a POV scene, it seemed to add distance, as how often do we think of ourselves using our names?

If clarity wasn't an issued, I went with pronouns more than proper names, although I did make sure I clearly established who owned the scene in the opening sentence/paragraph.

Wouldn't books be boring if they were all the same?