Tag Archive - redundancy

Don’t Get Sent to the Department of Redundancy

Today editor Robin Patchen tackles Fatal Flaw #3: Weak Construction. We’ve been examining this flaw all month, looking at the various ways writers stumble into the mire of weak construction through poor word choice and flawed sentence structure, as well as vagueness and bland or clunky dialog. Be sure to read through all these posts to learn how to catch this fatal flaw in your fiction writing!

“We get it.” I type those words often in my clients’ manuscripts. And when I see a lot of redundancy in their books, I’ve been known to simply type “DRD” in the comment box. Department of Redundancy Department—a great Monty Python line.

So many writers fall into this trap. They think of a few different ways to say the same thing, and they really like every one of their choices. They must, because they leave them all in. The quickest way to slow down your manuscript is to be redundant. It’s . . . how shall I say this? Boring. Continue Reading…

Repetition, Redundancy, and Overused Punctuation—Oh My!

We’re continuing our look at Fatal Flaw # 1: Overwriting. Fiction writers often overwrite, and have trouble seeing how this manifests in their prose. Last week we looked at details, and considered how much is too much. This week editor Christy Distler delves into the topics of repetition, redundancy, and excessive punctuation:

The first time I heard the phrase “write tight” was in high school English class. Our teacher returned our short stories and called me to her desk when class ended. “I love your story line,” she said. “But you need to write tighter. I want you to go back through your story and cut out anything that’s repetitive or not necessary. Don’t use an entire paragraph to say what you can say with a sentence or two. And lay off the dashes.”

I no longer have that short story, nor do I remember the entire story line, but I haven’t forgotten the writing style I’d used. Three of its problems were repetition, redundancy, and overused punctuation. Just what are these three writing faux pas? Continue Reading…

Am I Being Redundant or What?

Well, we all speak in redundancies and think nothing of it. Really–how many of us say “close proximity” or “major breakthrough”? (Is there any such thing as a minor breakthrough? Maybe.) Part of writing efficiently and concisely involves catching redundant or superfluous words that are really not needed. Here are some groups of words where either one or the other will suffice alone:

  • adequate enough
  • paramount importance
  • past history (unless you’re into sci-fi or some branch of quantum mechanics and want to distinguish from future history)
  • plan in advance
  • serious danger (funny to me)
  • total annihilation
  • trained professional
  • want in advance
  • joint cooperation
  • final outcome
  • eliminate altogether

Can you think of some? Maybe if we become aware of these we can get rid of some of these unnecessary habitual customs.