Repetition of I
Quote:I stood out on the porch, watching the sunset. I felt the warm wind pulling at my hair, and I heard the birds singing their night songs in the trees. I knew that it was going to rain, because I could see that the clouds gathering in the distance were thick ones. My brother came out onto the porch and stood next to me. I thought that he needed a shower, because I could see that he was covered in paint from work.
Could be rewritten almost entirely to avoid I while still being in the first person.
Quote:The sunset was clearly visible from the porch where I stood. The warm wind pulled at my hair, and the birds sang their night songs in the trees. It was definitely going to rain; the clouds gathering on the horizon were thick. My brother walked out on the porch and stood next to me. He definitely needed a shower, because he was still covered in paint from work.
Obviously the first paragraph is fairly egregious with regards to the number of filtering words, and the second paragraph is pretty strict about removing them, but you should get the idea.
In general, here is a guideline you can follow
- Narrator's ACTIONS can use I freely (In the example, "I stood on the porch")
- Character's thoughts and opinions should be part of the narration, and don't usually need anything declaring it to be the character's thoughts (such as in the example "I thought that he needed a shower" vs "He definitely needed a shower")
- Character's observations/descriptions of the world should rarely use I (avoid almost all "I saw"/"I heard"/"I felt" etc)
In writing all rules are made to be broken, so take everything I've said here with a grain of salt :^)
For example: "I heard a wolf howling." vs. "A wolf howled."
In the first sentence, we're merely being told what the character heard. In the second, we're experiencing the actual sound, therefor putting us deeper in the character's point of view.
A few more examples:
"I saw a rifle leaning against the door." vs. "A rifle leaned against the door."
"I smelled baking bread." vs "The scent of baking bread filled my nostrils."
"I felt hungry." vs. "My mouth watered and my stomach started eating itself."
"I wondered why there was a puddle on the floor." vs. "What was that puddle doing there?"