Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Gearing Up

It is time for another blog fest and this one seems to be made for me. It is The Gearing up to get an agent blogfest. For more details check out  Deana Barnharts blog

Week 1 as explained on Deanas Blog:

I Just had to ask...

What burning questions (about writing of course) do you have?  It doesn't matter how ridiculous you think it may be, just ask.  Post the question on your blog and we will hop around the blogs trying to help each other out.  Discussions about topics on writing can really pump you up for your novel, plus you can make connections, follow one another, and brainstorm platform building ideas...whatever.   

This will be our time to ease into the blogfest and get to know one another.

So this is my question for week number one.
How have you conquered the “I” while writing in the first person? Keeping the word “I” to a minimum has proven to be very challenging, so my blogging friends, any words of advice?


A.E. Martin said...

My favorite perspective to write from has become first person, and I think with that it is expected to use "I" quite a bit. I think the best advice I can give is to write your story however it comes out, then when you are editing you can take a slower look at your sentences and see if there are different ways you can say something and cut back on the "I" if there are too many. For example.

"What did you say?" I asked. I glanced up at him.


"What did you say?" I asked, glancing up at him.

A lot of rethinking and re-wording is best I think.

Summer Ross said...

That is a hard one to conquer. Practice that is my suggestion- use writing challenges. :)

Deana said...

Okay, I need this darn question answered right away too! Sadly I can't help you out Siv because I'm having the same problem. I will be anxiously awaiting others advice though:)

Karen Walker said...

Oh gosh, I'm still recovering from the A-Z challenge, so I don't think I'll participate. But it will be fun watching you guys.

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

LOL! It is for that fear that I write all my novel length pieces in 3rd person.
Good luck! I hope someone has an answer for you :)

kathy stemke said...

Shying away from writing in the first person works best for me. But, when I must write in the first person, I use sentences like the first sentence in this post.

Stephanie said...

I hate to say it, but I use microsoft's word finder. That's pretty much how I deal with any over used word, though "I" is a great deal trickier. I generally determine how many official "I"s I've used once the rough draft is complete and decide to cut that number in half. Then I take it a paragraph at a time, adjusting sentences to best of my ability to cut down the use of "I." Once I get in front of readers I know they'll also give me great rewordings that I could never have thoughts of. I definitely can't deal with my overuse of I while writing. I would never get the rough draft done.

Madeleine said...

I thought of a question the other day. Wish I'd written it down now.

I'd love to know from successful authors how many rejections they had before their big break. :O)

Murees Dupé said...

All my novels are written in first person and unfortunately, I comes up a lot. What I do sometimes is change a sentence into a thought instead of dialogue so instead of writing "I hope it doesn't rain today." I would write. The weather better stay clear and warm today or The clouds are rolling in pretty fast­—it's probably gonne rain soon.

Hope that I was helpful. Good luck.

Susan Oloier said...

This sounds like a great blogfest. Unfortunately, July is quite the busy month for me. I don't think I could make the commitment.
The "I" question: I will answer even though I am not a part, if that's okay.
Descriptions and such do not call for sentences starting with "I". Dependent clauses help in introducing an "I" statement. And the narrarator still has to describe others and events from a third person perspective. This is probably vague and unhelpful. Sorry :(
I have written all of my work except one (so four total) in the first person, and it just sort of comes naturally.

Theresa Milstein said...

Great question!

I try to see things through the eyes of my character instead of in her thoughts as much as possible. Does that make sense?

Amanda Milner said...

Good question! Aaaand I wish I had a good answer, sadly, I do not. Lol! My WIP is in first person POV and this is a question I'd like to see an answer to. ☺

Catherine Johnson said...

I wish I could answer that but I am always saying I lol.

Angelina C. Hansen said...

Good question. Imagine you are describing everything from your point of view, but rather than filtering the information by saying "I saw" or "I felt" or "I did whatever" just describe it from the character's POV.
ex: I looked out the window and I saw that the parking lot was empty. (filtered)

better: Outside my window the parking lot was empty.

I know this is a simple example, but hopefully you understand what I mean. Check out some books written in first person and you'll find loads of great examples. Study how it's done.

Emily Rittel-King said...

Can the word "I" be conquered when writing in first person? More than anything I try to vary my sentences so I don't have five sentences in a row starting with the "I". This serves to cut out overuse and adds variance for my reader.

Melodie said...

Hmm. The question makes me wonder if I do this on purpose or just get into the flow of the narrative. Varying the sentence length helps, as well as looking for alternate ways to start a sentence. The goal is that avoiding the 'I' becomes second nature, although there's always room for improvement.

Siv Maria said...

There are a lot of helpful answers here. This is going to be a great Blogfest! Thanks guys :)

Damyanti said...

Having written a lot in the first person, I suggest using the Voice of the character rather than 'I'. If you know your character well, he or she would have inflections and mannerisms that would tell the reader that he or she is talking, without you using the I. Watch out for phrases like "I think" "I wonder" "I guess"..

Laura Barnes said...

I also like writing in first person. When I do so, I first just let it flow out however it comes. Then when I go back for the second draft, I look at each time I use the word and see if there is another way to word the sentence. Yes, the word needs to be reduced, but on the other hand, don't make it unnatural.

Rewriting the paragraph above on second draft would look like: I also like writing in first person. When doing so, I first just let it flow out however it comes. Then for the second draft, I look at each time the word is used and see if there is another way to word the sentence. Yes, the word needs to be reduced, but on the other hand, don't make it unnatural.

See, reduced, not eliminated.

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

The "I" issue is still hard for me. Not so fun LOL! But blogging does seem to be helping a bit--I hope :0)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Siv,

Well, I do write in first person and Susan is correct When I see "I" too much I set the scene before the mc's thought.

Also AE is right. Go back afterwards and try and reduce them. I need to do that with BG a bit more. I tried to be careful, but another CP found three together.

Lauracea (Sue R) said...

Oh! I hope I'm not too late to join. Off to check blogfest because this is FABULOUS.

For me, the use of "I" or any pronoun is a problem. If you're in the thoughts of someone though - why use the pronoun? Example:
"What?" I cried.
This could be changed to : What? Was John mad?
You're actually transcribing the thoughts instead of reporting the speech. Bet that was as clear as mud LOL, but it's the best I can do.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your first comment. Write it then go back go back and edit it out. It's much easier that way.

Nancy Thompson said...

Hi! I'm a fellow Gearin' Up to Find an agent participant (and new follower.) You pose an interesting question. I was never really cognizant of avoiding "I" when I wrote my novel in first person POV. I just made sure my sentence structure was varied within each paragraph.

It's funny that you should ask this question because I'm reading Divergent right now and the author has "I" everywhere. I just became aware of yesterday and realized it bothered me quite a bit.

McKenzie McCann said...

I extend beyond my character and focus on the external a bit more. For example, instead of saying "I woke up with a headache and went to hunt for some aspirin. I opened the cabinet and discovered we were out. Well, okay, that I was out, because I live alone."

Rather, I make it less about what my character sees and more about what's happening, like:

"I woke up with my brain hell-bent on escaping my skull. It rammed itself against its bone cage and against its bone cage, over and over. After sniffing around the bathroom cabinet, it seemed we were out of aspirin. Except, no one else lives here, so it was just me that was out of aspirin."

It's all about moving your emphasis around.