Starting a rewrite, I discovered I had fallen back into an old habit, the overuse of pronouns.
“That’s right,” he says. He tells me about a guy he knows back in Yuma.
In one five-sentence paragraph: “He looks… he decides he’s found… he pulls out a bottle… (and) he offers me a drink… I decline… He shrugs…”
The story is a first-person account of two guys on a bus. Pronouns are unavoidable, but enough is enough. After the first few, they get monotonous and boring.
Avoiding pronouns has been a life-long battle. Letters and Facebook posts are riddled with “I” and “he/she.” Even in conversation, I use first-person often enough, my friends think I’m an egomaniac (see?). Actually, it’s just laziness – it’s much easier to keep repeating pronoun-verb-subject than to actually think of something original.
An old college writing textbook says stories often go through five to ten rewrites. This may take more.