Monday, February 11, 2013


A few days ago, I thought I had my computer problems solved. Not so! The blue screen came to visit again only hours after I brought my laptop home from the tech hospital. The next morning, I called the tech guy and he told me the only thing left to do was wipe the whole thing clean and start over. I would then need to download all my programs, security, etc etc. Just as you would do with a brand new computer. It seemed redundant to me! I'd already done it when the computer was new.

Redundancy is what we're going to discuss today. Last week, I listed 5 topics that dealt with the mechanics of writing. They're all important if you don't want to be accused of sloppy writing.

Sometimes, writers tend to repeat themselves. Not necessarily with the same words but they say the same thing with another set of words. Why? I can think of two reasons. One, they want to be very sure the reader gets the point. And two, they seem to be assuring themselves that this is important and needs to be brought out in a big way.

As far as wanting to know that your reader understands what you're telling them--forget it. In a way, you insult their intelligence. Give the reader some credit. Say it once but say it well. They'll know what you're attempting to tell them.

The second reason, assuring themselves, shows a lack of confidence. It's far better to prove your point well once than to do it poorly three times. The stronger you write, the less you will find yourself repeating.

Another part of repetition is repeating the same word more than once in a sentence or even a paragraph. When you do that, it's the fastest train to boredom for your reader. When you do a self-edit, make yourself  look for repeated words. When we write a first draft, it happens, but we should pick it up when we revise and polish the piece. Even using those passive to be verbs can put you in the repetitious mode. Do a check to see how often you used words like was, are, have, is and similar passives.

As for me, I'm taking my computer in to be scraped of everything on it. The thought of the job ahead in re-downloading umpteen programs is daunting. Bear with me if things slow down here this week.

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