Jemi Fraser on Redundancies!


Redundancies – Saying It Twice!

I often wonder if I should nominate myself for the crown of Queen of Redundancies.

When I’m drafting stories, I tend to write fairly quickly. I’m a big fan of NaNo and usually have no serious troubles completely the 50k in one month.

However...

One of the down sides of drafting quickly is I’m thinking ahead, not looking back. I tend to say the same thing more than once. Often right in a row. Obviously I don’t use the same words, but I repeat the information in a new way. Sometimes I imply it or state it several times within the same scene. (I blame one of my history teachers who never gave us high marks unless we could say the same thing at least three different ways. *sigh*)

I’m learning to trust my audience more. (You have no idea how hard it was for me to NOT add another sentence here explaining what that first sentence meant... It’s an addiction!)

Now, when I’m revising, I’ve trained myself to look for places where I can ‘slash and burn.’ This is by far my favourite stage of revising and editing now. It’s become a bit of a game for me to find those redundant phrases. Imagining Aragorn and Legolas standing by my side with their swords ready to slash helps as well.

How about you? Do you have troubles with redundancies? Do you get annoyed when the author keeps repeating the same information?

Jemi Fraser is an aspiring author of contemporary romance. She blogs and tweets while searching for those HEAs.

60 comments:

  1. Hi Jemi, I'm a fairly economic writer, so I hate having to slash and burn, but I tend to adopt a word and use it a lot, then have to wheedle it out. No sooner am I aware of that word, another comes along, lol.

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    1. Hi Maggie,

      It does seem a problem, when we tend to overuse a word. Mine is 'so'.

      Thanks for coming by!

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  2. I do sometimes, but I'm learning to catch them and cut them on revision. And, like Maggi, I have my go-to words that I have to go back and vary.

    On the flip side, repeating things can be good for your story. There are times we need our readers to be reminded of something necessary to understand the plot, or times we need to drive home a point, like when we paint layers of setting to help cement the mood. The trick is doing this in a way that isn't irritating. That's where beta readers and crit partners come in. ;)

    Thanks for visiting my blog. :)

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    1. Hi Melissa,

      Thanks so much for sharing about your experience. And thanks for coming by!

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  3. I have the horrible habit of repeating words like nobody's business. I worry I miss a lot of them, too, which makes a beta reader so helpful! Getting rid of them in revisions does make me feel quite accomplished!

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    1. Wow! Meradeth! Beta readers are worth their weight in gold!

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  4. Aw Jemi, I do it all the time. And then some. Talk about saying it twice, I often say it about half a dozen times.

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  5. I do this a lot! My last first draft was written very piecemeal in 20 and 30 minute chunks during my commute, and I found not only had I repeated the same words and phrases over and over, I'd even repeated whole scenes!

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  6. What a coincidence - I was talking with my writing friend this morning about this very thing. Thank goodness for editing.

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    1. Yes, and I repeat, 'Thank goodness for editing!'

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  7. I don't THINK I repeat myself. I don't THINK I repeat myself. (HA!)

    And yes, it absolutely drives me nuts when a writer says the same thing repeatedly, as thought she thinks the reader is too stupid to get it the first ten times she mentioned it.

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  8. Maggie - the slash & burn stage is fun! I tend to have those words pop up too - so annoying! :)

    Melissa - I'm so glad I've got crit buddies who are brilliant! Makes it easier to see when those repetitions are like banging people over the head!!

    Meradeth - oh! I completely agree - it feels SO good when you tidy them up!! :)

    Maria - yay! So glad I'm not alone - we'll slash & burn together!! :)

    Autumn - that's so funny! I wonder if that 'chunk' writing is the reason for mine as well. I like that reason!!

    Beth - no kidding! Can't imagine having to write clean in that first draft!

    Susan - LOL! And that's it exactly!! I don't want to tick my readers off! :)

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  9. Yes! Heck, in my last manuscript, I regurgitated basically the same three sentences said by another character a few chapters later. Only reading the whole thing at once did I catch it.

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    1. It happens Alex. Which is why we keep on polishing and editing, polishing and editing...

      Thanks for dropping by!

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  10. I do it all the time. For me, the first draft is where I figure out what I want to say. The result is certain ideas come up...again and again, and I will sometimes find certain passages that are remarkably the same in two or even three places when I do my read-through.

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    1. Hi JeffO,

      Thanks for coming by and sharing your own experience!

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  11. Yes, I can relate. I'm an attorney and sometimes I go overboard having a character explain why they're doing something. Getting rid of the redundancies can really cut your word count to where it should be. Thanks for the tip.

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    1. Hi Natalie!

      So true! Thanks for sharing!

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  12. Alex - I'm wondering if that's part of my issue - I rarely get those long chunks of time! Something to think about :)

    Jeff - I'm so glad I'm not alone - those repetitions can drive me batty!

    Natalie - I can cut a LOT of words just y looking at redundancies - at least it's fun! :)

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  13. In a first draft you sometimes repeat to remind yourself where you're at in the manuscript. It feels good when we notice the progress we're making :)

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  14. Charmaine - it really does feel good! :)

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  15. The more we write, the easier it is to spot those. I wish I could spot them as I write them, though. Would save me time later!

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    1. Hi Diane!

      Thanks for coming by! I'm loving all these experience sharing!

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  16. Guilty! So, so guilty! Thank goodness for revisions! :)

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  17. *nods head* Yep...I'm guilty of that too. Sometimes I do it WITHIN THE SAME PARAGRAPH! :)

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    1. Yes, it happens. Thanks for coming by DL!

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  18. Redundancies come in so many forms--repeated words, phrases, ideas--even scenes. Thank God for Revision and Editing!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. And I repeat, Nutschell-thank goodness for revising and editing!

      Thanks for dropping in today!

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  19. Diane - no kidding! Not writing them in the first place would be awesome! :)

    Kristi - yes! Revisions are life savers!!

    DL - me too! Sometimes right away - drives me batty!

    Nutschell - exactly! Fist drafts are so fun because we really don't have to worry about it!

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  20. I like to talk in real life so it's impossible for me not to do the same thing in my writing. Luckily, I'm aware of it in my writing and am able to rectify it in the editing process. Unfortunately, I haven't mastered editing my real life conversations. :)

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    1. Lol! Now if only we could edit our real life conversations too, Mel!

      Thanks for dropping by!

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  21. Mel - LOL - I need to learn that skill too! It would be awesome to have an edit button!! :)

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  22. Great post Jemi. I think we all do it. I often do it when describing actions...”He was close, so close...”. But I love editing so it's okay.

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  23. Awesome post, Jemi! I notice that I do the same thing in my writing. It is something I continue to work on. :)

    ~Jess

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  24. Denise - thanks! I'm learning to love editing! Still not a fan of rewriting, but I do love a good slash and burn :)

    Jess - thanks! It's somehting I don't know if I'll ever get that first draft redundancy-free, but I'll keep trying! :)

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  25. Nas - thanks for hosting me here - it's been fun! :)

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    1. You welcome Jemi! I'm enjoying and yes, learning from these comments too!

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  26. Hi Jemi,
    Yes I do have an issue with redundancies. When I go back over my work, I always find that I've said the same thing multiple times, in multiple ways. It is getting better, though. In my advanced creative writing class, I recently had a critique that said how much this person appreciated the simplicity in my lines. I was amazed! I've often been critiqued as being wordy. I suppose all those years in school have finally payed off!

    Great post and thanks for hosting, Nas! Nice to "meet" you!
    Jen

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    1. That's an awesome compliment to get! I think I'm getting better too - both during the drafting and finding them in the editing :)

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  27. I take a weird delight in cutting a ms down and become obsessed with the word count on the bottom of the screen. Obsessions aside, I do think that less is more in writing.

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    1. Cutting those words counts down is fun! Love watching them drop :) And I like 'less' too!

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    2. Hi Rosalind,

      Less is definitely more. Thanks for dropping by!

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  28. I love that you make a game out of finding redundencies during your editing time. What a fun way to put a positive spin on something that can be painful.

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    1. It is fun! I love to tighten and shape the prose - adding in on the other hand... meh, not so much fun :)

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    2. Hi Karie!

      I also enjoyed reading Jemi's way of editing!

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  29. My writing has become tighter over the years. I used to think everything had to be spelled out, but readers get it. Also, when I'm reading I enjoy connecting the dots. It's annoying when the author has to explain every little thing and become repetitive doing so.

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    1. So true Medeia. Writers should credit readers with some sense for unearthing the mysteries, so to speak!

      Thanks for coming by!

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  30. Medeia - me too! I've learned to be a lot more subtle. It's much more fun for the reader!

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  31. I thought I might've read this post already, but hey the info is so helpful it bears reading twice!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  32. Nutschell - Teehee! :) Glad it's helpful!

    I did (eventually) figure out the Reply feature in the posts, but (sadly) my laptop only lets me use it when it's in the mood! *sigh*

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