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The next morning I went to the forest—not the mini-scale forest but the real one. It extended miles and miles around the house. We were well aware of it when Akiko and I bought the house. In fact, that was one of the main reasons we chose it.

Does the overuse of it make the passage above sound flat and ambiguous? Would it better if I do something like:

The next morning I went to the forest—not the mini-scale forest but the real one. It extended miles and miles around the house. We were well aware of its existence when Akiko and I bought the house. In fact, that was one of the main reasons we chose the place.

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2 Answers 2

I only take issue with the last "it". The previous two instances both refer to the forest, while this one refers to the house, so the switch can be confusing.

I think "its existence" is too wordy. "It" works just fine in this spot because it's unambiguous what the pronoun refers to.

If I were the editor, I would leave the first two and only change the last one to be more clear that it's the house being referred to, not the forest.

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Generally with pronouns, so long as the subject doesn't change you wont cause confusion. When there is only one male or one female in the scene, pronoun to your heart's content...course I try to balance that with reminders via the dialogue because the repetition can be...distracting.

When you start getting into scenes with more complexity you need to be a little more deliberate about what/who/where (etc) is being referenced. (Like roger pointed out with the "it" at the end of your sample.

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