I often get asked for advice about writing. When I have time, which isn’t often, I try to give it. At times like today, when I’m tracking down the last errors that I can find before submitting my manuscript to my editor, I remember things that can be of use to aspiring scribes.
Word repetition is something that creeps into one’s writing, like it or no. Some writers take the time when they’ve done to seek these out and remove them, but more do not. In my mind, many good reads can be ruined by such repetition. It’s fair enough when a word or phrase is repeated for emphasis, and it’s natural that the writer’s tired eye will miss others. It’s incredible how, after a dozen edits, two instances of say, ‘almost’, or ‘just’ can pop up beside each other.
Thankfully, vast improvements can be made by making the effort to excise as many as possible. If one has a list to use on the entire manuscript, things are made easier.
Here then, is my hit list. Be warned: trawling through a novel of 140,000 words for all of these will take you 8 hours or more. But it’s worth it!
now (tip: to avoid having to look at all instances of ‘know’, search for ‘ now’)
And the killer – all words that end in ‘-ly’
Curse me as you do it! 🙂 Ben