Friday, December 9, 2011
The "I" Pitfall of First Person
I like to write in first person, so naturally my character says "I" a lot. In fact, too much. I sat down with a chapter and circled every instance of "I." Guess how many I found.
Seriously! That's insane! That comes to an average of a little more than 21 per page out of the six page chapter.
Through the process of editing I dwindled that number down to ... 90. I'll admit, I might have been able to cut it down more, but at the moment that was all I could bring myself to cut. Another round should drop it even more.
And, no, that was not easy! Not by a long shot. In fact here's a little secret. I did a major revision of that chapter before I counted the 124 I's. Before that there had been 6-1/2 pages and 121 I's. So, in my "big revision" I created more of a problem with the I Pitfall. Now when I make my notes on the draft I have decided to circle every single "I" with a green highlighter. Then as I make those big revisions, the I's can dwindle.
This, of course, prompted me to look at the first two chapters that I had already edited, but not for the I's. I cut 34 I's in chapter 1 and 33 from chapter 2.
Cutting the I's wasn't the only thing that happened. Nope, in the process of cutting the I's out, I tightened up my wording a whole lot. This made me extremely happy. From now on I will search for the I's when I think I am completely done editing. Surely, there will be more to be done.
Your Turn -> Have you found yourself falling into the I Pitfall if you write in first person?