Concrete Detail

Erika Hayes, Author – Write like a reader, read like a writer and edit like a beast!


I’ll say it again, redundancy is bad for your stories.

One of the fastest ways to cut the useless words is to search for redundancy. I find when editing my own and others work that writers a great at saying the same thing in two (or more) ways. One manner of redundant writing can be seen in the example.

Example:  Maricela’s normal even temperament was being tested today by the child.  Looking at the clock Maricela took a deep breath, she was growing weary of the child’s disobedience.

Stating that Maricela is growing weary again after stating her normal even temperament was tested is redundant, as is stating the child is disobedient when stating the child had tested her.  These two sentences essentially say the same thing.

Edit:  Maricela took a deep cleansing breath, the child was testing her normal even temperament. 

By combining the sentences the writing is more concise.  We also want to show and not tell.  By stating Maricela taking a cleansing breath we are showing she is stressed by the child.  We also give our reader credit.  This one sentence shows we believe our reader will make the connection of her stress to the child’s behavior.

Keep an eye out for redundant phrases common in the English language

There are many phrases that are redundant and should be avoided. This is a short list but one you can use to remind yourself to be on the lookout!

  • Absolutely certain and it’s buddy complete convinced  – So if you are certain of something it is absolute and when you are convinced of something it is complete?
  • A brief summary– this just makes me laugh.
  • Earlier in time – If it was earlier, that refers to time?
  • End result –  When you get the result you have reached the end of your search?
  • Free gift – no kidding a gift is free?
  • Lag behind – so if something is lagging it is behind?
  • A new beginning – A beginning is new?
  • A pair of twins – Twins come in pairs?
  • Plunge down – Thing move down when they plunge?  of course, that leads me to ponder plungings sisters, rise or raise up.
  • Regular routine – Wait a minute, routines are regular?

While using some of these are acceptable in your writing just be sure to use them with caution!



3 thoughts on “I’ll say it again…

  1. Golda says:

    I use redundancy in my speaking and writing, usually to emphasize a point. I’ll have to work on this. Though, I totally understand “brief summary”: some people’s “summaries” are almost as long as explaining something in its entirety.

  2. 🙂 🙂 thanks for the tips, some were pretty obvious, but others not so much. I’m sure I have use the term ‘new beginning’ 🙂

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