The Wayfarer (mnfaure) wrote,
The Wayfarer

A Pronominal Conundrum of Colossal Proportions

I believe I already posted about this, say, oh, three years ago, but I can find no trace of it after scouring my tags. So, you get the dilemma presented to you again, with my apologies. But my flist has evolved in those three years and perhaps one of you out there might have new insight to give me.

So, as you clever people will have deduced by now, I have a problem.  I'm returning my attention to my ms To Be Undone, and I find myself wondering, yet again, how I can tackle the pronoun issue for my genderless beings, the Fravardin. I have a very good reason for not giving them a gender, but I won't go into here so as not to muddy the thinking waters.

I don't particularly feel drawn to the idea of using "it"* to describe the Fravardin. Imagine the gymnastics and ridiculous repetitions I would have to perform to keep from sounding like the serial killer in Silence of the Lambs: It puts the lotion on its skin.

Or a less tongue-in-cheek example from the WIP: The High Fravardin trailed its fingers over each mask, lingering on the curve of the girl’s cheek. It had carved and tinted it itself, working from the memory that, Ijad willing, would be expelled today.

Yes, for the second "it" I can use mask again, but let's face it, sometimes, in a novel-length work, it is going to be downright awkward to keep repeating either character names or avoiding using direct and indirect pronouns.

A solution I had come up with before was to copy a system I came across on the net, the Spivak pronouns. This did not receive an especially warm reception when I posted a few chapters to the OWW a while back.  I know that crits are hit or miss, anyhow, but would this avant-garde pronoun system make you put down a work? How about if the sections where the pronoun use is a bit heavier are extremely short?

Have you any alternatives to offer? I'd love hearing any advice and thoughts on the matter.
* I know Neil Gaiman uses "it" to decent effect in Neverwhere in regards to his angel Islington, but I have more beings than that and I'll have to use the pronoun system more frequently.
Tags: shaking the magic 8 ball, that thing called writing, to be undone

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