Common writer mistakes #20

#20 — Small, repeating phrases

Sometimes, small phrases end up repeating themselves. But if they’re shortened, that will tighten up the story’s prose.

Here are some examples:

Climbed up -> Climbed

If you climb something, you’re usually going up toward the top. So, can drop up and leave climbed by itself.

  • I climbed up the dangerous mountain.
  • I climbed the dangerous mountain.

Shrugged their shoulders -> Shrugged

As humans, we don’t really shrug anything else besides our shoulders. (Maybe aliens shrug other things?) But if you shrug, it’s implied that it’s the shoulders, so can drop the rest of the phrase.

  • Alex shrugged their shoulders and sighed.
  • Alex shrugged and sighed.

Stood up -> Stood

If you stand, you usually go up. So, unless you stand down or stand to the right, don’t need to specify the direction.

  • I stood up and raced out the room.
  • I stood and raced out the room.

Now, there are plenty of other examples. And as you can probably guess, this is not a must edit. Published writers still do these all the time. It’s more what I call a picky edit. It’s an optional one that tightens up your words and helps a story’s flow.

Hope this helps!

DARE TO CONTINUE?
#1 — USING MULTIPLE ADJECTIVES
#2 — VAGUENESS FOR TENSION
#3 — REPEATING WORDS FOR EMPHASIS
#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 DETAILS WITH COMMAS
#11 — DIFFERENT TYPES OF DASHES
#12 — NOT USING PLAIN LANGUAGE
#13 — DIALOGUE TAGS VS ACTION BEATS
#14 — MISUSING COMMAS
#15 — NO SENTENCE VARIATION
#16 — MISPLACED MODIFIERS
#17 — CHARACTERS WITH SIMILAR NAMES
#18 — When to start new paragraphs
#19 — Starting sections with pronouns

4 thoughts on “Common writer mistakes #20

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