Thursday, October 14, 2010

Killing the distant perspective

One of my big problems in writing is too much distance, the sense that the narrator is a bystander to the action, and not a part of it. I so enjoy taking a step back from life to observe it myself that my aerial, disembodied view sneaks into the prose.

I felt something hitting me.
Something hit me.

Do you know how many 'I felt's I've trimmed out? How any writer revised before computers and the Search feature, I'll never understand.

It was like a bird had sung in my ear.
A bird sang in my ear.

I also have a simile addiction. Metaphors pop, but they intimidate me when I write rough drafts. Thank goodness my revision brain is more open minded to popping.

I saw him cross the room.
He crossed the room.

Really, why do I need to have the narrator point out their perspective, their presence? Sometimes the fact that the narrator is the one seeing it happen is an important aspect to point out, but for every fifty 'I see's in my MS, only one or two deserve to stay.

Death to most Feels and Sees! Forced conversion of similes to metaphors! I am your monarch, oh manuscript, and you will heed my decrees for behavior.


  1. Amen! I have a huge problem with this. It's the way I think when free writing. I always have to go back in and trim it up!

  2. I agree. It is a question of tightening your prose. I cut so much in my rewrites that I sometimes have to add whole new scenes to meet my word count requirements.