Common writer mistakes #19

#19 — Starting sections with pronouns

When writing longer works, it’s good practice to start each chapter or scene with the character’s name instead of their pronoun. For example:

Rose saw the fire hissing in the distance.

vs

She saw the fire hissing in the distance.

This is for two reasons. 1) The character(s) referenced may be unclear. In this case, the readers don’t know who’s doing what. Even if they go back to skim the last few pages to check, they still may be unsure, which will pull them out of the story.

2) Readers don’t usually read a book in one go. At some point, they’re going to bookmark the page and set the book down—not always at the end of the chapter.

When the readers pick the book back up, it may take them a second to remember where they are. If they start reading and only see a pronoun, they may get confused about what character the author is referencing. Now, they could go back a page or two and skim to see who the character is, but that pulls them out of a story.

It’s part of the writer’s job to make their book as fluid and immersing as possible. One way to do that is to make sure the readers never have to guess what character is doing what. Giving them that gentle reminder of who the character(s) is up front when starting a new section helps orientate them that way.

Hope this helps!

DARE TO CONTINUE?
#1 — USING MULTIPLE ADJECTIVES
#2 — VAGUENESS FOR TENSION
#3 — REPEATING WORDS FOR EMPHASIS
#4 — COMMON MISUSED WORDS
#5 — MISUSING HYPHENS
#6 — UNNECESSARY DETAILS
#7 — NOT DEVELOPING CHARACTERS
#8 — THE WORDS “FELT” AND “FEEL”

#9 — OVERUSING CHARACTER NAMES
#10 — ADDING TOO MANY DETAILS WITH COMMAS
#11 — DIFFERENT TYPES OF DASHES
#12 — NOT USING PLAIN LANGUAGE
#13 — DIALOGUE TAGS VS ACTION BEATS
#14 — MISUSING COMMAS
#15 — NO SENTENCE VARIATION
#16 — MISPLACED MODIFIERS
#17 — CHARACTERS WITH SIMILAR NAMES
#18 — When to start new paragraphs

2 thoughts on “Common writer mistakes #19

  1. Specific detail, which is usually preferred over more generic descriptors, is like oxygen in our stories. Especially in fiction, our stories and characters come to life when they “breathe” the specificity of the detail we give them. We always need to be aware of repetitive detail, but luckily there are many different ways to be specific as we write.

    Liked by 1 person

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