Saturday, July 17, 2010

Redundancy, Being Redundant, Are You Redundant?

In a previous post I mentioned the unwise usage of trite expressions in your writing. Now, here's the second half of that topic: redundancy. Yes, we are all guilty of it. There are words in our "stable" of vocabulary that are favorites and used constantly, especially in our first drafts. Mine is "then" and "of course". When going through the editing stages (and I do mean plural of that -- you should make at least 2 or 3 or however many times it takes to make your story "perfect") I perform a word search of words I use too often. That way I can come of with a different wording, phrasing, or at least a substitute word. Of course, you as the writer will notice these words more than the reader, most likely. Still, it's your creation and you want it to your satisfaction, right?

Okay, that's a way to deal with certain words. For instance, you can't really shorten the word "then". But what about those phrases where being more consise would help? If you write "twelve midnight" do you really need the word "twelve"? Just write "midnight". Or "in the event that" can become "if". It's a personal choice, after all, and there are plenty of accomplished and reknowned authors who are quite verbose in their style. William Faulker or Stephen King, for instance. But then those such as Steinbeck show sparse detail, i.e. get to the point, no fluff, no fuss, just be clear enough. The following page has a chart listing of several example phrases and how you can tighten them up. Worth a look, I'd say. (Make sure you scroll down the page a bit to find the chart.)

Here's to being consise!

Writing Consise

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