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Getting Rid of Redundancy

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on Aug 15, 2012 5:11:30 AM

Michael Crichton once famously said that "Books aren't written, they're rewritten." Never a truer word has been spoken. The problem is that too many beginning authors think that rewriting simply means cleaning up prose and knocking out typos. Rewriting is more or less re-engineering the story. You may find that paragraphs, pages, or chapters simply don't work, or they would work better somewhere else in the story. You may find a particular character that threads through your entire story doesn't work, and you have to get rid of him or her. In short, rewriting should be a process of destroying and rebuilding what you've written.


In my mind, the number one thing you want to be on the lookout for when rewriting is redundancy. I'm not just talking about repeating passages or phrases; I'm talking about two different characters that may be too similar to one another, or even scenes that have striking similarities. Writing a book takes a lot of time. Many, many days pass from the moment you type the first word to the time you type "The End," and you may unknowingly repeat yourself in some form or fashion.


I am certainly guilty of redundancy. I tend to focus a lot of action and character development on meals. That's great, as long as it's not overdone. If it happens over and over again in my book, it says more about me as the author than it does the actual characters in the book. When I rewrite, that's one of the things I look out for. Have I used food as a catalyst too much? If the answer is yes, I change the scene to balance it out.


Be brutal on yourself during rewrites. Tear the story down now so readers won't do it after it's published.


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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