Friday, June 27, 2014

Repetition isn't always the greatest. Repetition isn't always the greatest.

As Adrienne posted a couple weeks ago, we just have some pet peeves. Hers was winking.

For me, it's not so much any particular thing like that, but repetition. Noticeable repetition. Let me give you an example. An author whose books I really enjoy (and will remain nameless) uses some variation of this phrase at least once per novel and quite often more than that: "He popped his jaw."

And every single time, it throws me out of the story, as I wonder at that. I'm pretty sure I know what she's talking about, but frankly, describing it that way sounds painful and awkward and absolutely prevents me from absorbing that and going on with the story.

What you want is to keep your readers happy in their blissful little reader bubble, where they don't question the words on the page, but stay engrossed in the story you're creating around them.

And for me, repetition of certain words and phrases doesn't do that for me.

This is something that a critique partner can point out for you. For instance, I like to use "headed." He headed to the store, she headed outside, they headed out to lunch. Apparently, that rings better to me when I'm writing than walked, moved, went, etc. I never noticed just how often I used it until a critique partner pointed it out.

Make sure you figure out what words and phrases you're overusing and start using the "Find" function in your manuscript to search them out and destroy them. Mindless repetition is not your friend. If you're using repetition on purpose for a point, then go for it.

But for the love of all that is evil, please don't pop your jaw while you're doing it - someone could get hurt!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Too much smirking can be annoying. I call it the bad boy over-smirking sydrome.


Please feel free to leave a comment! Just don't be a dick. Or we'll hunt you down.

Our Theme Song