I often write in first person, but I was taking the Editpalooza workshop through SavvyAuthors.com, and the editor to whom I was assigned, Lea Schizas from Muse It Up Publishing, brought to my attention that I had used the word “I” five times in two sentences for a grand total of six “I”s in the opening paragraph. Lea’s point was that the use of the word “I” can sometimes be distancing because the narrator tells the reader what to feel. This was a revelation for me, and I haven’t seen it discussed before; hence, the blog post.
I’ll show you the difference in a before and after:
“When I opened the car door, it was like opening the 425-degree oven that I used to bake my frozen pizzas.” [I also noted here that I used variations of the word “open” twice in one sentence – aaargh!]
“A blast of heat, like the 425-degree oven that heated up my frozen pizza earlier, hit me once I stepped out of the car, and I wanted to cast off the linen jacket. Yet, my outfit needed a little dressing up with authority.”
I reduced the number of “I”s from five to two, and, although I’m sure it’s not perfect, it’s more immediate than before.
Now I only have to apply this new-found knowledge to each sentence of the manuscript!
Have you noticed excessive use of “I”s either in books you read or your own manuscripts? What is its effect on you?
Do you agree with this advice that “I” can be more about telling than showing?
Category: first-person, Uncategorized | Tags: first-person, showing not telling, viewpoint
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