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Clear Writing – No. 4

 Redundant Word Search

(these are a few examples; there may be others you will need to look for)

Correct these words appropriately.

2-wheel bicycle                    6 a.m. in the morning        nodded his head

       blistering hot                        crept slowly                          exact same

       drop down                             eased slowly                         long-necked giraffe

       rise up                                    rose to her feet                     sat down

       shrugged his shoulders      stomped heavily                  terribly bad

       the reason why                     tiptoed quietly                     red in color

               ran quickly                            long-lasting durability       today’s soup for today

Read each phrase listed above and ask if these words are a repeat of their meaning.  For example:  blistering hot.  Could you not simply say “blistering day” and leave out “hot?”  Or let’s look at:  rose to her feet.  As oppose to what?  “rose to (what?).”  By definition doesn’t crept mean to move slowly.  So why must we say “crept slowly?”

It becomes crucial to delete redundant words from your manuscript when and if you need to reduce the size of your novel.  I’m currently working on a family saga that is too long and this is the main problem I’m running into.  However, the more I perform the onerous task of spotting and deleting redundant words, the better my writing becomes and the better I get at spotting these pesky words.  Sometimes putting these redundant words together sounds good, may even sound like a cliché (and most are), but they are grammatically incorrect in a manuscript.

One of the last tasks you must perform after completing your manuscript is to look for redundant words and any to be verbs and minimize them.  Both redundant words and to be verbs can drag your story.  I ran across an article the other day where a writer said that he allows only one to be verb in each paragraph.  I have adopted this rule and I am implementing it in my writing. I avoid them altogether whenever possible.

One of the other things I do after I’ve declared my manuscript is complete is to search for repetitive words.  I restructure or delete these sentences wherever possible.

 Things to Remember

When editing your work, remember to include the five senses so that the reader can hear, touch, smell, see, and taste what you want them to experience.  This helps the readers participate with the characters in the event.  So ask yourself the following questions while you are editing your manuscript:

1.       Where is the scene taking place?  Where are they? Have you described the surroundings?

2.       Who is speaking?  Is it clear who is speaking?

3.       When is the scene/event taking place? Is it sunny? Dark? Cloudy?

4.       What is the purpose of the scene?  Is the scene vital to the story? Can the scene be deleted?

5.       How is this possible? Always question if your scene, dialogue, events are possible/normal.

If you have tips you would like to share, please do so.  Sharing what we know helps us all.
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