2 Ways to Improve Your Writing - Get rid of Repetition and Redundancies

Apr 20, 2020

2 Ways to Improve Your Writing

 

Today I want to give you two simple tips to improve your writing dramatically. They are getting rid of Repetition and Redundancies in Writing.

 

1a) Be aware of repetition of ideas and words

This may sound basic, but if you've written a manuscript over a long period of time it can become a blur.

 

Readers remember something you've said 100 pages before, especially if they're reading it in a few sittings.

 

Repetition of ideas can slow the story down and it feels like the book hasn't been edited properly.

 

The only time you'd use repetition of ideas is if you're summarising (say in a non-fiction book) or if you want to draw attention to a theme (in a fiction book).

 

1b) Repetition of Words

Writers have favourite words and often we don't realise how much we use them. Also, if you're using an unusual word, don't repeat it in too many places because the reader will notice.

 

Try not to use the same word in a sentence unless it is for impact.

For example in my Wobbly Woman book I say:

 

He's at you.

At you.

At you.

 

Writing it like this is a dramatic effect.

 

 

2) The second tip to improve your writing is to get rid of redundancies.

 

Redundancies are unnecessary words.

They slow your story down.

 

Examples of redundancies can be words or phrases:

Words include:

  • Just
  • Always
  • Kind of
  • Basically
  • I think
  • Suddenly
  • Perhaps
  • Subsequently
  • Completely
  • Generally
  • Absolutely

 

 

Redundant Phrases are also called tautologies

absolute perfection

close proximity

frown on her face - frowns are usually on a face

completely untrue

during the course of

full satisfaction

for a period of

new beginning

major breakthrough

worst ever

quite empty

small in size

quick minute

each and every

free gift

current trend

 

The only time you'd use a redundancy is if you're highlighting your voice, your personality. If your book is conversational and you talk like that include a few, but not too many because it's considered sloppy writing.

 

You can use it in dialogue if you or a character would say something in a particular way or if you want to make it more realistic.

 

It's difficult to generalise because writer's are different - we all have unique voices and stories.

 

However, editors will  point out repetition and redundancies or delete them to make your writing tighter and flow better.

 

Action Step for you: 

If you have a piece of writing, go through it and check to see if you've repeated ideas.

Consider where the best place for that idea would be - with what follows on before and after that idea.

 

Delete repetitive words and redundant words.

 

Remember to get your writing down first and use this as a self-editing tool. However, the more you write and self-edit you will automatically stop being repetitive and using redundant words.

 

Download the One page Cheat Sheet. It has a  list of redundant words and tautologies to take note of and avoid.

 

I hope that this has been helpful. Let me know what you think in the comments and if you can think of any more redundancies or tautologies that you seem to use a lot.

 

Cheers

Leeza

 

PS

Need some guidance for writing your book?

Download my free ebook, Guide to Write and Self Publish Your Memoir with a Printable Checklist: HERE

Book in a free 30 minute consultation with Leeza: HERE

 

(images by pixabay)

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