Friday, March 5, 2010

Repeating Words Repeatedly with Repetition

One of the most common errors I have noticed while editing manuscripts recently is repetitive word usage.  I am talking using the same word sometimes two and three times in the same sentence, and then again in the next sentence!

This is fine on your first draft, but by the time it goes out to an agent, or a publisher, that word should be "trimmed" down. 

Not convinced you do that?  Well, there are ways to find out.  If you use MSWord, go to Edit, Replace.  Type in the word you suspect is overused into "Find What" then type the same word in again with a space after it into "Replace With."  Click on the Replace All button.  THis will tell you how many instances of the word occur in your document, or the area you've highlighted.  You can click Edit/Undo Replace All after this activity to return all the instances to normal.

Another way to see if you do this is to read your writing outloud.  This slows you down and it is harder to skate over repetitive words, awkward sentences and things that don't flow well.

More on the most common issues next week.

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