So, here’s the thing. I read this really great, enlightening post on the word ‘it’, and said word’s usage in writing. That being, laziness. Now that I want to reference the original post, I can’t locate it. I even went back in my handy WordPress reader. No luck. Which means the blog was one of those I get e-mail updates on and I’ve deleted it.
Anyhow, I will admit, I never gave It much thought until I read that post. I mean, who doesn’t use that tiny word, right? Such a simple creature, really. Two letters. Most times I’m not even aware I’ve read It. Like ‘said’, It blends into the sentence, unassuming and totally at peace with the surrounding words. It causes little trouble. Keeps to Itself. I never suspected It suggested laziness as a writer. I actually hadn’t dwelt on It at all.
Until that fateful post. Now I can’t get It out of my head. But I’m very conscious of trying to remove it from my writing now. Is that good or bad? I haven’t yet decided. I don’t want to be a lazy writer. I don’t want to use words such as thing, stuff, something . . . You know, “He picked up the thing.” Well, what is the thing? What’s it look like, feel like, smell like? Even if he doesn’t know what the thing is, he certainly knows those bits of information. Right?
“He heard something.” Really? Something like . . . a whistle, a hoot, a scream, a bang, a thump . . .what?
Now there’s It.
Is this lazy writing? Jenner picked up the sword. He swung it, marveling at the way it whistled through the air. He had just enough coin. It could be his if he wanted it.
All right, it’s not winning any literary awards, that’s not the point. The point is, what if I write this instead: Jenner picked up the sword. He swung the weapon, marveling at the way the blade whistled through the air. He had just enough coin. The sword could be his if he wanted to part with his gold.
Is the second attempt better with the elimination of It? I definitely had to work harder, coming up with other words to replace those two lovely letters. Did the change improve the writing? What do you think? Does It go onto the list of Lazy Writer Words That Shall Be Avoided?
~ K. L. Schewngel