Storytelling Specter 2

It was a dark and stormy night.

Wow, that was not really exciting at all… and I used “it” when I could have used something else.  It’s the war against “it” in today’s Storytelling Specter!

StorytellingSpecter300Write a paragraph without really thinking about what you’re writing and you’ll more than likely use the word “it” more than once.  It was this.  I think this is great but he didn’t think it was.  It.  It.  It.

Stop using the word.  “It” should be used in dialog because that is how people speak but you shouldn’t use the word in your fiction.

Hey, you used “it” several times in several columns, INCLUDING THIS ONE.

Well, I’m not perfect and a column isn’t fiction.  It just isn’t.

When you use the word it, you’re shortening your word count.  Think about that for a moment.  You could easily get at least two more words out of what you’re writing if you used something other than the word it.  Let me use an example.

He looked at it and shook his head.

Out of context, you have no idea what “it” is.  This is a complete story, too, and if I want to really get the most out of this sentence, I need to elaborate.  I need to replace “it” with whatever “it” is.  So, let me alter the sentence to be a little better.

He looked at the smashed window and shook his head.

There.  See?  I got at least one more word out of that… technically two because I removed “it” with two words.  Sure, that’s semantics, but hey, I’m semantically inclined?

When you sit down to tell a story, the word “it” is something that just shouldn’t be used.  The word doesn’t tell us anything and really doesn’t move the story along.  Some people claim that it creates a sense of mystery in mysteries and sometimes isn’t avoidable.  You can ALWAYS avoid it.  Explanation and detailed elaboration help tell the story to the reader and if you have to use the word it, you should use that word only as a last resort.

Look back at your unthought out paragraph.  You probably used it several times.  That should make you cringe like fingernails on a chalkboard while watching bare teeth bite into an ice cube.  If none of that makes you cringe, what are you, a robot?  Look at all the stuff I’ve made you think about without using that awful word!  Hey, I’m even avoiding using the word to talk ABOUT THE WORD!

There are lots of rules to grammar and writing.  You have to use this type of word here, you should show and not tell, you should do this, and you should do that.  What you really should concentrate on, especially early on, is not using the word it.  Why would you use a two letter word that has to be guessed what the word represents when you can use a much better sounding word to tell a story to the reader.  Why be boring?

Stop using it.  You’ll be much better for it.

I crack me up.