Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.
Courtesy of Adirondack Editing
Owned by Susan Uttendorfsky
For those who have not yet met me, I’m a freelance copy editor living in upstate New York near the Adirondacks. I’ve been writing and editing for over thirty years, and freelancing for the past few years.
I work almost exclusively with independent authors.
A few submit their manuscripts to agents and publishers, but by the time they come to me, most have decided to self-publish.
So what are we going to talk about in this series? Chris and I are of the same mind when it comes to offering information to writers—we want you to learn how to be a good author. So I’ll be sharing wisdom on
English usage tips
Creative writing skills
We might even incorporate some publishing, marketing, and author platform information. Because—if you haven’t figured this out already—writing the book is only half the battle! The other half is getting it published and then selling it. There are many steps to incorporate in the series.
Today we’re going to look at:
Redundancies in Writing
Writers can be so concerned about expressing themselves that they write it more than once, in different ways, to get the point across. These quick, off-the-cuff examples don’t represent great writing, but they’re based on actual editing customers’ writing. Can you spot the redundancies? Some are subtle.
The dragon breathed in and out angrily, then shot out fire that swallowed up everything in sight – all of it.
The tears ran down her cheeks, falling on the note. She sobbed. Would she ever see him again in her lifetime?
The soldier ran his sword through his opponent. He pierced the man’s heart with his weapon. He killed him without hesitation.
In number one, the phrase “swallowed up everything” is pretty all encompassing, wouldn’t you say? So “in sight” and “all of it” are unnecessary.
In number two, what happens when you sob? Don’t tears run down your cheeks? Also, how else do tears run? Do tears ever run up your face? Gravity doesn’t work that way. These first two sentences might be rewritten this way: “She sobbed over the note” or “Her tears smudged the note’s writing.”
There’s also a very subtle redundancy in the question in number two. The words “ever,” “again,” and “lifetime” all point to the same circumstance, and two of the three can be deleted and the sentence reworked.
Number three is a clump of short sentences, each giving different details of the account. They could easily be wrangled into one smooth sentence, such as, “The soldier’s sword pierced the man’s heart without hesitation.”
Next week we’ll discuss ‘Description Depression’
This series is not meant to be (nor will it be) simple static information.
I’ll be here for each post to answer questions, offer suggestions as necessary, and interact with you.
If there’s something you specifically want (or need!) to see addressed in terms of self-editing, please let me know in the comments under this, or any of the articles of the series.