While making a concerted effort to keep as many HADs out of my book as possible, sometimes it is unavoidable. Yet, as the scrutinizing reader/writer that I am, those HADS always jump out like blemishes on the page.
However, if I am writing my book in first person past-tense and I am referring to something IN THE PAST, what about those HADs? Is there a home for them there?
I want to know how everyone treats this wretched word. I am giving an ambiguous and probably boring excerpt to illustrate.
The first is littered with HADS.
My eyes fell on my duffle bag, almost hidden beneath the extra pillows I HAD thrown off my bed when I HAD arrived. I HAD used the bag as a carry-on during my flight but HAD spent the overnight hours on the plane sleeping rather than reading. I unzipped the bag and saw the shoes, tossed among my paperbacks with a piece of paper crammed under the toes and dried mud still clinging to the soles.
See? She is looking at her duffle bag NOW. She unzips her duffle bag NOW. The rest is in the past.
And maybe I can eliminate some of the hads and not put them in capitals :) There is always, "I'd."
What if I wrote it like this?
My eyes fell on my duffle bag, almost hidden beneath the extra pillow I threw off my bed when I arrived. I used the bag as a carry-on during the flight but spent the overnight hours on the plane sleeping rather than reading. Now, I unzipped the bag and saw the shoes, tossed among the paperbacks...and the rest of it.
I think then, "now" should be added to re-orient the reader to the present-ness of the situation.
Now tell me your opinion about that awful three-letter word.