Saturday, December 11, 2010

Don't "Shrug" So Much!

You know how, in life, we're all guilty of little repetitions? Little phrases we tend to say over and over, in conversation, that we're not even aware of? "You know." "Like." "The point being."

Well, I've found we can be guilty of the same thing in our writing. Not to pick on her (because I've actually read/halfway-enjoyed two of her books) but I noticed something in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight books. The characters "shrug" in and out of their jackets. Like, multiple times. I lost count after awhile. Describing a character as "shrugging into or out of" his/her jacket became a Meyer cliche after awhile. Once is fine, but more than that? Nope. It stands out too much in the text.

The point is, if you tend to describe something a certain way over and over again, recognize it - and put a stop to it. Change it up. Think of a different way to describe that action: she peeled off her jacket. She wriggled out of her jacket. She abandoned her jacket with gusto. (<--Okay, that one's ridiculous, lol). Or, just stop having her remove jackets quite so often. Maybe that little detail isn't even necessary. Because your readers will catch the unnecessarily-repetitive description. And it will start to annoy them.

I catch my own little repetitions while editing my books -- ways I describe something that I tend to rely upon much too heavily. The trick is catching it, then changing it. Thinking of a different way to describe that action. This will make your writing fresh and more original.

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