Amanda, Amanda, Amanda

Since writing during this month is about word count, not producing a finished work, I haven’t spent a lot of time or thought on visuals to ground potential readers in the scene, I just jumped in with the character and started writing. During rewrites, I’ll go back and add the setting — it’s not a good idea to start every every scene with the character’s name (though many writers do it). Here are some of the sentences I temporarily used to open new scenes. Poor Amanda.

Amanda opened her husband’s closet and stared at his clothes, wondering if she’d ever be able to get rid of them.

Amanda pushed the grocery cart through the aisles, looking for foods that didn’t remind her of meals with David, but every time she reached for a can, bottle, or box, her stomach clenched. 

Amanda checked her emails.

Amanda went from eating nothing but yogurt to eating cookies, candy, cake, crackers, chips — anything she could grab and eat without cooking or having to sit at a table to dine.

Tired of crying, of holding the shattered pieces of herself together, Amanda hugged David’s robe-wrapped ashes one more time and climbed out of bed.

Amanda stared at her reflection in the mirror. The woman looked familiar, as if she had known her intimately long ago, but the woman seemed to have nothing to do with her todays.

Amanda felt her life, her love for David rewinding.

Amanda checked to make sure the box was empty.

Amanda woke to light seeping in from between the slats of the closed blinds.

Amanda wandered through the house, seeing not the shabby furniture, the shelves overloaded with books, the 20-inch out-of-date television, but the home she and David had created.

Frenzied with grief-induced adrenaline, Amanda yanked open the door to David’s closet and slammed his underwear into a garbage bag.

6 Responses to “Amanda, Amanda, Amanda”

  1. Carol Ann Hoel Says:

    I like the new look. It is new, isn’t it? Very nice! I’ve been looking at your books. Impressive. I like that you sell them on your blog. Hm. I’ll be coming back for a more thorough browse. Blessings to you…

  2. Sarah G Says:

    Yes, the repetition of the name does get old after a while. I’m still learning how to work around it. How do YOU fill in around the names? Do you mostly do that with physical descriptions, or are there other devices you use?

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Sarah, what I plan on doing is going back to the beginning of each scene and adding a bit of descriptive detail, perhaps about the light in her bedroom, how empty the kitchen feels, whether the grocery store is busy or not.

      As for the rest of it — I usually use the name once to begin with, then use she. It’s best to try to do scenes with two people, so you can alternate a few bits of dialogue without constantly using the names.

      I avoid using physical descriptions instead of names because it gets too confusing for the reader. They have to keep pausing to remember that Joyce is the blue-haired woman (for example) or Heather the girl with the tattoo.

  3. joylene Says:

    That’s the wonderful thing about rewrites and revisions, you can change most of those “Amanda” to “she” later. Or even rephrase to eliminate the pronoun altogether. It’s a great way of creating a deeply POV.


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