Today I want to give you two simple tips to improve your writing dramatically. They are getting rid of Repetition and Redundancies in Writing.
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).
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.
Writing it like this is a dramatic effect.
Redundancies are unnecessary words.
They slow your story down.
Examples of redundancies can be words or phrases:
Redundant Phrases are also called tautologies
frown on her face - frowns are usually on a face
during the course of
for a period of
small in size
each and every
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.
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.