Question About Using He and She in Third Person Writing

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Lesterhids 2 months, 4 weeks ago.

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  • #346908

    Lesterhids
    Participant

    So I’m having some trouble with using He and she and third person writing. I’m using it way too much, and sometimes when I’m trying to describe something, it just seems kind of dull. Any suggestions? Here’s a part I’m having a lot of trouble with:

    Suspecting something bad had happened, he quickened his pace to where he’d seen they had gone. There, on the cold ground lay they girl. She was thin and had dark red hair, freckles dotted her face. The soft moonlight highlighted her sharp features. Then he noticed the side of her head was covered in dark, red blood. What was he supposed to do? Leave her here? He couldn’t do that. He wouldn’t hesitate to take her home and clean her up if he didn’t live so far away. She probably lived around here somewhere. He searched the premise for any sign of people who might know her, but nobody was out. It was only 15 til’ 11pm.
    Micheal ran over to his car and opened the side door. After running back, he placed one arm under the girls head, and one under her legs, and lifted her up. Carefully, he let her down into the car seat and shut the door. Ok, time to head home. He would just have to drive her back when she woke up.

  • #655826

    jIPPity
    Participant

    I see no problem. In third person POV it’s a good idea to begin with the POV character’s name, then use he/him or she/her from that point on. Don’t use the name again unless it’s necessary to avoid confusion. Here you have a male and a female, so no confusion. If you reuse the POV character’s name, you increase what Steve Berry calls the “psychic distance” between character and reader, and that you don’t want to do.

    For the other characters, use their names or titles or whatever you want, whatever the POV would call them. Here you’re writing kind of an action scene, so to keep using names would slow things down. Remember also that he/she are “invisible” pronouns; they don’t register as repetitive.

    The only time your excerpt brought me up short is when you suddenly wrote “Michael.” No. Use his name at the beginning, but not after that.

    Hope this helps.

    –Warren

  • #655827

    Anonymous

    Agree. I wouldn’t have noticed the he’s and her’s etc if that hadn’t been your question. 😉

    EDIT: Possibly combining a couple short sentences, but not a necessity.

    Example: She was thin and had dark red hair, freckles dotting her face, the soft moonlight highlighting sharp features.

  • #655828

    Lesterhids
    Participant

    Thanks to the both of you! I guess I’m just kind of self conscious about my own writing. It must just be because I’m the person writing it, so I notice things that the reader would think nothing of.

  • #655829

    Lesterhids
    Participant

    wdarcy wrote:
    > I see no problem. In third person POV it’s a good idea to begin with the
    > POV character’s name, then use he/him or she/her from that point on. Don’t
    > use the name again unless it’s necessary to avoid confusion. Here you have
    > a male and a female, so no confusion. If you reuse the POV character’s
    > name, you increase what Steve Berry calls the “psychic distance”
    > between character and reader, and that you don’t want to do.
    >
    > For the other characters, use their names or titles or whatever you want,
    > whatever the POV would call them. Here you’re writing kind of an action
    > scene, so to keep using names would slow things down. Remember also that
    > he/she are “invisible” pronouns; they don’t register as
    > repetitive.
    >
    > The only time your excerpt brought me up short is when you suddenly wrote
    > “Michael.” No. Use his name at the beginning, but not after
    > that.
    >
    > Hope this helps.
    >
    > –Warren

    Alright. That does help, and I do think that’s it’s a good idea not to use Micheal except in the the beginning. I am writing split time, so I always make sure it’s well indicated that it’s Micheal’s POV when it is, and not the other main character’s POV (November is her name). I already skip a line and use something like ***Micheal*** when the POV is changing, but including the name at the beginning might also help indicate that.

  • #655830

    Lesterhids
    Participant

    ostarella wrote:
    > Agree. I wouldn’t have noticed the he’s and her’s etc if that hadn’t been
    > your question. 😉
    >
    > EDIT: Possibly combining a couple short sentences, but not a necessity.
    >
    > Example: She was thin and had dark red hair, freckles dotting her face, the
    > soft moonlight highlighting sharp features.

    That’s a good idea. I’ll make sure to look through my writing and combine some sentences. Thank you for your time!

  • #655831

    debbieolch
    Participant

    edited.
    took out filtering, reworded to take out some to be verbs, etc.

    Suspecting something bad had happened, he quickened his pace to where they had gone*. The thin girl lay on the cold ground**. The soft moonlight revealed her sharp features strewn with freckles, and it glimmered off her dark red hair. Blood smeared the side of her head***.

    He couldn’t leave her like this. He’d take her home and clean her up if he didn’t live so far away. She probably lived around here. No one was out though it was only 1045.

    Micheal ran to his car and opened the side door****. After running back, he placed one arm under the girls head, and one under her legs and lifted her. Carefully, he let her down onto the seat and shut the door*****.

    *(though I really wish it was something SPECIFIC, like around the corner)
    ** I’d like specificity–is she lying on cobblestones, dirt, grass, pebbles, what?
    *** I’d like specificity here, too. What part? Is the blood in her hair or on her face? Is the blood dripping, or was is smeared from a wound, or? It’s clear from later text that it’s not a fatal wound, and I really think you need to clarify the extent of the wound here.
    **** Why doesn’t he move the car to the girl?
    ***** You left off the part where he takes her to the car.

    Ok, time to head home. He would just have to drive her back when she woke up.– I deleted all of this. The first sentence because it’s not needed, the second sentence because why would she want to come back to where she was knocked unconscious? And why the hell isn’t he contacting the police?

    hope that helps.

  • #655832

    Lesterhids
    Participant

    Lol, thanks for the edit. A few of your questions are answered outside of that excerpt. Also, the car wasn’t too far away, you’d have to read the part before that. By “drive her back” I meant back to the area, because he thinks she lives around there. I’ll make sure that’s clear. I will add some more detail though, and thanks for your help.

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