Common writer mistakes #3

#3 — Repeating words for emphasis

In some cases, repeating words helps.

“Please, Elie,” I begged. “You have to do this. You know how much it means to me. Please.”

Notice how please repeats? It doesn’t overdo the dialogue since they’re separated out. It feels smooth.

On the other hand, I had a writer recently use the word please about five times in one spot.

“Please, Elie,” I begged. “Please. You have to do this. Please. You know how much this means to me. Please. You have to! Please!”

Repeating words can be too much.

I’ve had readers tell me I repeated a word too much when I used it twice in one paragraph. That may be an extreme, but it’s something to look out for. If you repeat a word, ask yourself if it’s essential.

A good way to find repeated words is to read your work out loud. You’ll realize you’ve said the word already and catch the red flag.

Or you can use the search tool and type in words that usually repeat, such as:

  • A lot
  • Character names
  • Good
  • Many
  • Said

Some words that may repeat could be specific to your story. For example, if you’re writing a fantasy piece about wizards, they may be:

  • Magic
  • Potion
  • Spell
  • Wand
  • Wizard

Check for repeated words even if you don’t think there are some. Just in case. You might be surprised.

For me, I never thought I repeated many words until others pointed it out to me. It’s something that anyone can overlook when editing.

I hope this helps!

Dare to continue?
#1 — Using multiple adjectives
#2 — Vagueness for tension
#4 — COMMON MISUSED WORDS
#5 — MISUSING HYPHENS

#6 — UNNECESSARY DETAILS
#7 — NOT DEVELOPING CHARACTERS
#8 — THE WORDS “FELT” AND “FEEL”
#9 — OVERUSING CHARACTER NAMES
#10 — ADDING TOO MANY COMMAS
#11 — DIFFERENT TYPES OF DASHES
#12 — Not using plain language

20 thoughts on “Common writer mistakes #3

  1. This is great advice! I recently read an ARC that had the character name repeated too many times in short spaces of writing and it really distracted me from the story at hand. It’s not an issue I’ve really had to deal with before but I agree with your advice! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I use Prowriting Aid to edit. I’ve bought the full version but you can review up to a certain amount for free on their website. They have a search function for overused words that I’ve found helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

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