Pudgy Prose

“Despite its tireless narrative energy, despite its relentless inventiveness, the book is bloated…Repetition is the problem; the same stories are told several times, accruing more detail with each telling.”

This unsparing review of a novel by a popular writer is quoted in the pithy and valuable guide, “Self Editing for Fiction Writers,” by Renni Browne and Dave King. In da chapter called, “Once is Usually Enough,” the authors go on to say,

“The problem…is one we see regularly in the writing of both novices and professionals: unintentional repetition. Most writers already know how 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 trait, or two characters who fill the same role in the plot, repetition can rob your writing of its power.”

This is a problem I’ve certainly struggled with, both at the sentence level and in the larger arena of plot. I’m sure it’s familiar to you, too.What to do, what to do? Browne and King offer some help:

Putting your work away for a few weeks or even longer can help you see it with fresh eyes and helpfully spot repetitive story elements.

Be alert for “unintentional word repeats” and hit the delete button for some of them. Word repeats can jar or even annoy readers.

When you pinpoint repetition, try to spot the weakest version of a word or thought, eliminate it, and see if it’s stronger and more effective.

Check your chapters: Do you have more than one chapter that essentially accomplishes the same goal? What about characters?

Look for plot or stylistic devices that you are enamored with. If you decide they’re being overused, then consider jettisoning a few.

Helpful tips for pruning our prose. Let’s make it muscular, not pudgy, as we all write on!

Please help KWD grow by sharing: https://karinwritesdangerously.com/

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply