Sunday, January 17, 2010

Repetition is a Sin.

Not only is repetition a sin but it's evil...evil...evil! (kind of like water, as my walking partner would say, when we are going to ww to weigh in.)
When I first started writing my heroine and hero sighed so often I'm surprised they didn't faint from lack of air. I also overused adverds. I loved to say "very" every other sentence. Now, when I edit, I try to rid my manuscript of all repeated words. Cleaning up a manuscript is not really that time consuming and the finished product is always worth the effort.

I can no longer read without being super critical. I think most authors go through this revelation in their careers. Many times in published books I read things like he/she sighed over and over again. He/she shrugged. He/she nodded. Can't we just say "yes, or OK" then move on? Or he/she shook his head. Again, we could just say "no."

Make a list of things your characters can do and keep it next to your key board. They can drum their fingers, slap thier thigh with gloves, rub their temples, frown or grimace, lean over, point in the direction, look at the ceiling or the sky...and so many other choices--perhaps an infinite number of choices--and so much more interesting.

Maybe I'm ultra picky, and of course if the story is great and fast moving perhaps a reader will overlook the repetion.

What are your picky repeated words/or phrases? And what are favorite lines--which of course are never repeated in your manuscript.

1 comment:

  1. I repeat everything! It's embarrassing :-)

    Luckily, I stumbled upon the AutoCrit Editing Wizard. It's got a great feature for finding repeated and overused words. It really helps since it is so hard to see this stuff in my own writing.