Saturday, September 27, 2008

Redundant Repetition

I've noticed something about myself about myself during the edit stage of my novel: I have a tendency to use a word several times, in very close proximity. I know this is a common mistake and one of the many reasons why we edit, but I've taken it even further.

I'm at roughly the 25K mark and every ten pages or so I have to find a replacement word for the duplicate. But what's weird is I will use one word twice in two sentences, then never use them again.

Weird words. Words I don't use often.

My MC glances and breathes a lot - he's trusting his life to some shady characters, what do you expect? But "swatting" someone's butt (twice in three pages), "fresh produce" (twice in one page), "tipped his bottle" (and not to drink it) - these phrases don't appear anywhere else, except for right next to each other. Then there's the occasional "slumped against" the whatever. Weird.

Does this happen to anyone else?

21 comments:

Janna Qualman said...

I have done that, and I think it's because when we're in that zone, our subconscience hordes those words and phrasing, and it spits them up at the most inopportune times.

*shrugs*

Good luck with the continued editing!

Melanie Avila said...

I was thinking something like that, but you expressed it much better.

My Girl "PLEASE COME BACK" said...
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spyscribbler said...

Isn't that bizarre? I do the same thing. I have lots of words I repeat, though. Sometimes I put myself on a diet and refuse to let myself use them at all.

My worst are smiling, grinning, and looking. My characters start to look like ridiculous bobble head dolls!

Robin said...

That makes me want to say "fresh produce" constantly!

This isn't relevant, Melanie, but I've decided to put the novel idea on the backburner, and stick with nonfiction and humor for now. So we won't be NaNo buddies.:( Someone convinced me that it didn't make sense to spend so much time building my "platform" for Shrink Rap, and then switching genres.

I'm going to go make a sandwich with fresh produce now...

Melanie Avila said...

Spy, I've read so much on the bobble-heads that I do watch out for that, but I do use looking and gazing too much.

Robin, that's disappointing for me, but makes total sense for you to stick with non-fiction right now. There's always next year!

btw, I currently have NO fresh produce and I'm too lazy to go to the market. It's all drizzly which means everything is flooded and muddy and I don't feel like sliding through poopy mud right now.

Terra Chandler said...

all...the...time. I think, in that moment, my brain goes....
"Ooo, that's a great verb!!" And then a few sentences later, my brain goes "Did I use it already? Oh, well. I'll use it again!! There's always the editing process!!"

*sigh* silly brain.

Melanie Avila said...

Terra, I like that explanation! I do that a lot when I talk - the old "did I say that already?" - so it only makes sense I'd also do that when I write.

I feel so much better now, lol.

Turkey Lurkey said...

I believe it happens most of the time we write. On some occasions, it is part of getting into 'character' and that character might even have a few habits. It may be part of your character's personality to enjoy fresh produce while slouching. ;)

Melanie Avila said...

LOL. Nothing better than eating a juicy mango while slouching against a dirty concrete wall. :)

Janet said...

I think everybody does that.

colbymarshall said...

Mmmmhmmm...sure does. I usually notice it quick enough to vary my words, but I do have the tendency.

Travis Erwin said...

All the time.

Melanie Avila said...

Okay, good. :)

WendyCinNYC said...

Totally, but I notice it in published works, too. Some authors are in loooove with certain words or phrases.

Nadine said...

I do it constantly, and sometimes won't catch it until the 2nd or 3rd read through. Especially when I've used the same word twice in one sentence. *shakes head*

Aimless Writer said...

Ouch! I do this all the time. It's one of the things I always catch in the rewrite.
I have a friend who uses the word "just" a lot so she does a search for the word before she submits.
Doesn't our minds work in strange ways?

Lauren said...

Hah! I do that all the time too! I think it's because I just thought of that word so it's in the front of my brain rather than shuffled under layers of thoughts.

Melanie Avila said...

:) You're all making me feel, if not better, at least normal.

Janna Qualman said...

Good point, Wendy! I've noticed that in bestsellers, even.

ROFL. Melanie, you said, "poopy mud." *snicker*

Melanie Avila said...

And I'm not exaggerating...