I'm forcing my son to learn grammar, partially because I want him to be a writer and partially because he needs to know it.
I'm letting him study a book called Painless Grammar. (A really good book by the way.)
Today, he comes into my office and shows me this.
We laughed so hard and then I got serious because I've made those exact mistakes in my writing.
Now, I've noticed another problem in my writing. I've recently taken up the challenge of writing in first person. One problem I've noticed is the use of the word "I". For example, of the 23560 words I've written so far, 1793 are "I", that is almost eight percent of the total. Way too much.
How can a writer correct this problem?
I went to an article that gives two great points.
1) Cut out the assumed I's - for instance, if you've wrote "I thought" or "I saw", that's assumed. Who else would have thought or saw it unless it's in dialog?
Here's an example:
Take #1: I walked into the boardroom on that first day at BigBucks Company, and right away I could see that every eye was upon me. I was the new kid in town; I knew I had to prove myself. I also knew that Marlene was angry at being passed over. I'll have to win her over quickly, I thought, or she'll be trying to undermine me... I had heard about her reputation.
Take #2: On my first day at BigBucks company, I was aware that every eye was upon me the moment I walked into the boardroom – not surprising: as the new kid in town, I had to prove myself. Marlene was there, too, and the grapevine reported that she was angry at being passed over. Her reputation had preceded her: it was important to win her over quickly or she'd be trying to undermine me.
What a difference!
2) Cut the I's when refering to setting.
Here's an example:
Take #1: I slogged up the hill to the lookout, feeling happy that I was back in the country. It was clear that I was out of condition: I started puffing well before the top. Leaning against the railing at the top of the hill, I could see for miles. The town was spread out below me, and just past the row of oak trees at the far end of the main street, I could see the football field where I'd played as a teenager. I noticed that the high school had doubled the number of buildings: the town had grown in the twenty years I'd been away.
Take #2: The road that wound up the hill to the lookout seemed steeper and rougher than it had twenty years before, but it was good to be back in the country. At the top, I leaned on the railing of the observation platform to catch my breath; talk about out of condition! The town was spread out below me: there was the football field where I'd played as a teenager, just past the row of oak trees at the far end of the main street. The number of buildings on the high school grounds had doubled, a sign of the town's growth.
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