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Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com • Can I use "she" too much? : FAQs • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com
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Can I use "she" too much?

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:27 pm
by CatiK
How many times can I use the word she in a novel? im joking and im being serious. I figure I have used she about 600 times in my 8k words i've written so far. I want to be in third person but I hate seeing the word she so much. I do use her name but it sounds so repetitive when I use it too much. (the small word count is due to my habit of working, then the next day I reread then i rewrite then i edit and then yeah...) So is there any insight on to help me either stop worrying about it or what else I could put there?

Re: Can I use "she" too much?

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:29 pm
by pls

Re: Can I use "she" too much?

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 10:24 pm
by DrG2
It's impossible to say for sure, but you have one instance of "she" every 13 words, which means it's probably in most sentences.
One way you can lessen it is to get rid of "filtering verbs" in your manuscript. If you don't know what they are, you can google it.

Re: Can I use "she" too much?

PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:35 am
by mammamaia
you can use anything 'too much'...

to avoid overuse of 'she' you can restructure your sentences, or switch to her name, or 'the woman/girl/whatever' now and then...

Re: Can I use "she" too much?

PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2015 9:51 am
by James A. Ritchie
In third person, it's extremely easy to overuse "he" and "she", just as it's easy to overuse "I" in first person.

Sometimes using the character's name helps, but even this can easily be overdone.

The first thing to do is cut all filtering. This alone often eliminates a surprising number of proper nouns. Running everything that happens through the protagonist means using a proper noun constantly. Filtering is one of the most common problems new writers have, and even slaps experienced writers up side the head when they get lazy.

Remove filtering, ad do a new count.

After this, sentence structure comes into play. Once filtering is removed, you may not need to worry about this, but if you do, don't sweat it. Sentences where structure makes a difference are usually easy to spot, and easy to change.

Re: Can I use "she" too much?

PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2015 12:37 pm
by onceuponwednesday
CatiK, like PLS said post something in the critique section, just a paragraph will do, something with a lot of SHE in it. The critique sections of the board are closed off for non-members, so you can put up your work without fear of internet spiders crawling all over it.

By filtering we mean:

She felt the internet spiders crawl all over her writing.

versus

The internet spiders crawled all over her writing.

She felt, she saw, she heard, she tasted -- even she remembered, are all filtering. Filtering it through the character instead of telling the reader directly what's happening. On top of adding more words and "she" in particular, it also creates a gap between the reader and what's going on.

Personally I don't like just replacing "She" with "Katherine" or "The stunning novelist". It's pretty lazy too. Most of the time, in my work, the sentences needed to be rewritten. Changing the pronoun didn't fix (again in my writing) the more troubling issue of repetitive sentence structure.

Katherine got out of bed. She pulled on her fuzzy bunny slippers. The stunning novelist collected so much static while shuffling around her kitchen that her clocks started spinning backwards.

Re: Can I use "she" too much?

PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:06 pm
by CatiK
Oh my goodness! Thank you everyone who responded. I will definitely get a paragraph up. I will try all the suggestions! Thanks again everyone.

Re: Can I use "she" too much?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 9:32 pm
by CatiK
About to post in the critique section. It does seem the Romance section is kind of dead...