Tuesday, April 24, 2012
A few posts ago, we discussed the find/replace feature of MS Word which is great for repetitive words that you are AWARE of ... but what about words and phrases that repeat an idea that you are unaware of? These are unconscious repetitions.
What does that mean?
SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS by Browne and King has a great section on eliminating repetitions.
"Most writers already know to edit out places where they have literally repeated a word or phrase. But the repetition of an effect can be just as problematic. Whether it's two sentences that convey the same information, two paragraphs that establish the same personality trait, or two characters who fill the same role in the plot, repetition can rob your writing of its power" (pgs 175-176).
Have you checked your WIP for unconscious repetitions?
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Oh, I know I have these, particularly in my early drafts. Wouldn't be surprised if I had them in some later drafts too.ReplyDelete
My critique partner is great at finding them.ReplyDelete
Gah, these are so hard to find! That book looks great--I'll check it out.ReplyDelete
Yeah, writer/teacher friend told me to do a "search" for the number of times a certain word I use shows up. I tried it and it came up over 200 times! So I tried to change about 100 of them to something else.ReplyDelete
This makes me think of the Wordle.net application mentioned at another blog. The application can do a word cloud of your whole MS and the bigger words are words that show up very often. This could a somewhat fun way of finding words that need a little more help in being reduced or removed.ReplyDelete
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My proofreader pointed out in one section of my book, how many time's I said, she smiled.ReplyDelete
Its trying to replace them with another word that can boggle me. Now how many other ways can you say, she smiled?
This is a good book. I had it for a while from the library.
I check my WIP constantly for repetitions. I find using the 'Find' function helps, but it's so easy to miss them. I have the book you feature here. It's very useful. In fact, I normally dedicate one (at least) editing session to checking any adjectives or verbs, or constructions and if I find a repetition, I rework the additional instances. For example, in a short story I had repeated the word 'ancient' and I went through and used different words and phrases, To answer the question in the post above, get out the thesaurus and test out some alternatives. You may even enjoy it.ReplyDelete
That sounds like a book I need. I not only have to check my W.I.P, I have to check my one paragraph blog post. UGJ!ReplyDelete
Happy A to Z-ing!
There are many theories as to what the conscious and unconscious minds are. The truth is that you cannot prove the existence of the unconscious mind, and philosophers have been debating what it is to be conscious for hundreds of years! However, the evidence for the conscious and unconscious partnership is extremely compelling and answers many questions as to why we are the way we are.ReplyDelete