Confusing pronouns confuse readers, okay maddens readers

I won’t mention the novel, nor will I mention the author, as it is not my intent to embarrass a fellow writer. I enjoyed his story even though I got perturbed, mad, and upset with confusing pronouns. 

What I mean about confusing pronouns is when there are two characters in a scene and then a pronoun, such as ‘he’ is used, but the way the sentence or paragraph is written, you do not know which character the author is referring to. Confusion means the reader stops. Damn it, the flow is gone, who is talking, who is doing what, who is ‘he.’

It is an easy mistake for a writer because the writer knows who ‘he’ is. That ‘he’ is in the writers mind, but it is not in the reader’s mind and that is the problem. This problem surfaced a few times in the novel and was frustrating.

All writers know writing is fun and proofreading is torture. I hate proofreading, but finding and correcting, commas, misspellings, inserting missing quotation marks is the least of it. They are more noticeable, though it can-and has-taken me dozens of times to find them all. At least I think I have found those bugaboos. But a proofreader must read word by word seeking clarity in each sentence and to do this the author must have a clear mind. And that is why it is recommended a writer wait six months-at least by some-before proofreading. That way your mind is clear, you have forgotten much, and you are more likely to see mistakes. I tried waiting, but I could go only three months as the itch to publish was itching so badly I felt I needed a cream, but the only alternative was to proofread. I found things I would not have seen before. What I thought was clear in a paragraph became three months later a mess.  I tried to blame it on Word.doc and some sort of self correcting flaw in the software. But I knew better, though I liked to blame the computer. It made me feel better.

The easy thing for a writer to do in correcting confusing pronouns is to simply place the character’s name where he should be. It works better for the reader who wants a good flow, no confusion, so keep the readers  reading.

Though this is my first post on this site, I have had two  blogs for some time. I have one on writing called “The quill, the e-word, and the looniness.” Near the end of 2015 I closed my long time website, terrynelson.net, to create this site for my blogs and my e-Books. So I will have the quill blog up for a while, but if you have followed me on that blog, I hope you will follow, not stalk, me here. At the top of this site is info on who I am and  what my novels and short stories are about. My Seattle Mariner blog  is here. Thanks for reading.

 

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