I have a new word to add to my hate list. It’s “it”.
I am trying to hand my publisher a clean manuscript. The analyzer asked me the remove 5 cases of “there” (no problem) Once case of something else (it was easy, so I don’t remember). It told me that I had 109 uses of “it” and I should remove 52 of them.
This task was definitely a little more daunting. In the end, I was able to get it down to 77 cases. The analyzer is still telling me to remove 20 cases, but these are all in dialog. If you haven’t noticed, people use “it” in dialog, and if you try to remove “it” your characters start to sound like Robots… so my “its” are staying. If the living breathing editors want to mention it, I will deal with it then.
One thing I did learn though, is that narration can be stronger without the word “it”. Here are a few real case examples from LAST WINTER RED
In this first example, I took out both “it” and the second reference to the basket:
She raced past the death and decay and threw her arms around his neck, tipping her basket to the side. Lori grabbed it before the vials spilled. Her eyes narrowed disapprovingly as she set the basket on the table beside them.
This paragraph always bothered me, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. Now it flows much better… The revise, without the “it” and the second “basket”
She raced past the death and decay and threw her arms around his neck, tipping her basket to the side. Lori grabbed the wicker handle before the vials spilled. Her eyes narrowed disapprovingly as she set the precious parcel on the table beside them.
Here’s another one. Same as before, it wasn’t reading well. We will be removing two occurrences of “it”. I changed “the well” because I used the word “well” in the previous paragraph
He pulled on the strings, and a bucket rose from the well. He tipped it to fill her pail and handed it back to her.
He pulled on the strings, and a bucket rose from the ground. He poured the water into her pail and passed the handle to her, balancing the container with his other hand.
When you pull these examples out of the text, these changes almost seem obvious, but believe me, all my betas read right over this, and I need to admit that the sentences are richer without that annoying little “it”.
How do you feel about “it”?