Today’s Writing Tip

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Redundancy is another thing that can slow a story down. One part of speech that helps avoid repetition of a character’s name is the pronoun. You don’t need to keep repeating the character’s name. This is where he, she, it, and they as well as possessive pronouns like his, hers, its, and their come into play.

If a paragraph only involves one person, by all means, don’t keep repeating his or her name. If there are two people involved of different genders, then he and she will work fine. If there are two people of the same gender, then it’s more complicated. If it’s not clear, then it is sometimes justifiable to repeat names.

I read an absolutely dreadfully written story a few years ago where the protagonist was alone, no one else within miles, yet the author repeated his name with nearly every sentence, paragraph after paragraph. It was tedious to the point of being offensive, as if the reader wasn’t intelligent enough to figure out who was doing what.

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