on Utopian Editing site:
Great stories can be ruined by too many words. Redundancy in particular can make your prose squeak like the clarinetists in a middle school band (I’m allowed to say that because I played clarinet).
Not all repetition is bad. It can be used to emphasize or connect important ideas, like “I have a dream” in MLK’s best-known speech. But most of the time, it’s simply clutter.
You want the reader so immersed in your story they forget they’re reading words on a page. Anything that reminds them of your fingers on the keyboard MUST go.
We’ll look at four types of undesired repetition today:
- Dialogue tags
- Character names
- Pet words
- Hidden redundancy
Grab your manuscript and a utility knife!