There are so many words we can get rid of to tighten up our writing. It’s hard to find that balance between deleting words, and erasing everything and losing your voice, but it always seems like there are words to clean up.
‘To me’ is a phrase that often pops up when I am writing a 1st person POV. I often don’t need it, because there are only two people present in the scene. I did a check of The Proper Way to Say Goodbye to see where I could delete some unnecessary ‘to mes’. Here are those examples.
-By the end of the month, she’d sit across from me, look deep into my soul with her blue eyes and profess her love to me.
(Chloe is imagining a scene between her and her crush, Sasha. Only two people present.)
-This story means a lot to me.
(Sasha is talking about her feelings about a story, so she doesn’t need to me.)
-When she finished, she would put away the pencil and scoot closer to me.
(Again, only two in the scene. Chloe’s narrating, so closer to her doesn’t have to be defined with a me.)
-Murphy said, introducing them to me.
(Four people in the scene. Chloe, her friend Murphy and two other guys. She’s narrating, so of course he’s introducing the two guys to her. Nobody else is there.)
-Murphy caught up to me quickly, and the rest of our run was in silence.
(Again, only Chloe and Murphy jogging, and she’s the one ahead.)
-You lied to me again. And you’ll keep lying to me.
(Okay, here it’d be okay, except that I have two ‘to mes’ in two sentences. I’ll scratch the first because I think the second is more important.)
Without knowing the context of the scene, you might not see that the ‘to me’ needs to be cut. But in all these cases, it is apparent who the ‘to me’ refers to. This applies for any pronoun. I also searched ‘to her’ and ‘to him’ and found some to remove.
The few places I might leave the to + pronoun might be in dialogue. But in the end, I cut quite a few words I didn’t need.
October 26, 2012 by Suzi