Solving Pronoun Problems Can Benefit Your Writing in General

PRONOUNS (002)One of the most effective ways to obfuscate, distract and otherwise confuse your readers is to misuse pronouns. Here are some writing tips that will straighten out your pronoun use and add punch to your writing at the same time.

Overuse of Pronouns

I’m sure you’ve seen it:

He screamed and flailed at him, while his father desperately tried to pull him away.

Without some context, all we know is that there are three characters in this scene, all are male, and one of the younger pair is upset with the other. What is actually going on, and who is doing it, is quite opaque. And all because of a few little pronouns. Continue reading “Solving Pronoun Problems Can Benefit Your Writing in General”

Pronoun Confusion: Who Is the Sentence About?

grammar tip pronoun confusion All right, boys and girls, it’s time once again for your friendly, neighborhood grammar police report. Today we’re going to talk about Pronoun Confusion, those times when we have multiple characters of the same sex in a single scene, and how we keep track of them.

One of the chronic issues that we as authors have to be aware of is the fact that we have all the details of our stories in our brains, while our readers only have as much as we’ve given them. When I’m writing, I’m actually watching a movie in my head. I see my characters move, I hear them speak, and of course I know their motives and feelings. Having all this information sometimes translates into complacency; I know what my characters are doing, so it should be obvious to the reader, right? No, not always. Continue reading “Pronoun Confusion: Who Is the Sentence About?”

Do You Know How Others See Your Writing?

disparity is evilDisparity — defined as the lack of agreement between internal perceptions with external behavior. So what does that have to do with writing? Simply put, what we think about our writing is always different from the public’s perception. There’s a huge gap in what we see in our writing and what others see in it.

“So what, of course there’s a huge difference.”

Sometimes that difference can be bad, as the Evil Mastermind explored in this article about Misadventures in Wordcraft. Those are just little instances – sentences, phrases, awkward misplaced modifiers. Of course, then there are the big picture instances where you don’t make your point at all. Continue reading “Do You Know How Others See Your Writing?”


I was recently asked to beta-read the first chapter of a new book. I understood going in that this was a rough draft, so I wasn’t really expecting perfection, but it had several glitches that got me thinking about GPS.


Okay, bear with me.

I’ve rewritten and paraphrased some of what I read, but here’s the gist of it. Continue reading “Recalculating”