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I’m trying out switching my work-in-progress from first person (“I wrote”) to third person (“She wrote” or “Emily wrote”). I’m in deep third, so the point of view and “voice” remain intact. The pronouns, of course, must change. (I don’t mean to say that that is all that must change, just that that mechanical change is the stage I’m in.)

These are what I have to look out for:
and variations on the above.

But I can’t just find-and-replace. Why?

1) These pronouns are still necessary within dialogue and italicized thought, and shouldn’t in those contexts be touched.
2) They may appear at the beginning of a sentence OR in the middle, and so their replacements might need a capital first letter, or not.
3) Changing the “I” to a proper name or to “she” or “he” in the present tense tends to require changing the form of the associated verb as well. This is painstaking.
4) Changing “I” to a pronoun can lead to ambiguity when there is already someone of the same gender in the scene. When there was “she and I” both speakers were obvious. With two shes having a conversation, the speaker is not clear. So clarity requires considering the pronouns referring to the other character as well.

On the upside, in the course of this enforced careful re-read I’m finding that I really like what I’ve written so far 🙂

PS–If I had known that curly quotes are not recognized by find-and-replace in Open Office, I really would have thought twice about the trouble I took to achieve them. I literally cannot search for any contraction or most possessives because curly apostrophes are not recognized, not even when I copy and paste the whole world into the find box. Grrr…


Look! The cover! It’s gorgeous. I really like the colors.

I had earlier suggested that the B1040 in flood would be an evocative image for the cover. Fen flooding, and that road in particular, are important to the plot. I’m very, very happy with the cover I’ve been given. Just thought it would be fun to share the pic I sent my editor to illustrate how the B1040 disappears underwater:

That’s my adorable mom pretending to hitch-hike.

One of the benefits of this job is that people like to show me cool places to dump bodies or, alternatively, interesting ways to murder. (Seriously.)

Behold! An old blocked-up nuclear shelter escape tunnel. The shelter itself is now rented as office space, and we passed through several bank-vault-like doors to get in there. This tunnel is in a corner, behind the air filtration system. Unlike the main doors, this door’s lock is only workable from the outside. Cue evil laughter…

From “Envoy” by Billy Collins, a message to his just-published book:

"stay out as late as you like,
don't bother to call or write,
and talk to as many strangers as you can."