Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O = Over-utilization of Character Names


We all use them constantly, have to, but character names can be sorely over used. I've discovered this problem plagues my 1st person POV writing. Here's a literary agent's perspective on the problem.

A common, first-manuscript-page mistake: referring to what your protagonist is doing so much that your first page soon reads like (if you have a female protagonist named Jane):
  • Jane didn't like Mondays.
  • She rolled off her bed.
  • She had already eaten all of the cereal.
  • Because it always had mold, she disliked her shower.
  • She toweled off and put on her shoes.
  • She thought shoes were the most important part of an outfit. 
  • Today, Jane wore gladiator pumps. 
  • She was looking forward to meeting her boyfriend. 
  • After turning off the light, she picked up her bag, and left her house.
  • She got into her Prius, gunned the engine, and promptly flattened a squirrel.
  • She disliked squirrels.   
  • That said, the homeowners' association, of which Jane was a member, would not be pleased about scraping squirrel off the asphalt. 
  • She frowned. 
  • Reapplying her lipstick, Jane screeched over the center dividing island--after all, what else was four-wheel drive for?--and pulled into her favorite parking space. 
It's not even that so many sentences begin the same way--or that many are of similar length and rhythm, which is another thing to avoid--it's that your fictional world will automatically be fuller if you describe things without always attaching them to the protagonist. (That is, without doing the fiction equivalent of writing "I think" before every statement in an essay.) No bueno.
Continue reading at AgencyGatekeeper.

Don't forget to click here to check out and enter the new giveaway for Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore!

1 comment:

  1. you've got some great writerly tips here! i like the local post too! i plan to utilize that this summer!

    plus you highlight others.

    nice to meet you!
    happy a to z!

    ReplyDelete

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