Stuck On Repeat

I write because I love to. I write because I want people to read and love what I write. I want to draw them to my stories and characters like a magnet, not repel them. When I write a longer story with multiple chapters I often get stuck on repeat. Not in a major way, but in a way that might annoy the reader. It’s something I do, it’s awfully tempting to do and it happens easily. Repeating information.

Whether it’s right away or scattered throughout the story I often find myself repeating information. It may not be exactly as it was the first time, but it’s the same. Sigh.

It’s not always necessary to repeat information but it might feel that way.

There are numerous reasons that an author might repeat information.

Problem: Worry that the reader will forget.

Solution: I try to give the reader more credit. If you I repeat make it worth their while. A subtle reminder might do the trick better than tossing it in their face.

Problem: Worry that the detail will be lost.

Solution: I try to make the first presentation of the detail memorable. This can be done with humor, beautiful prose or have it stand out. 

Problem: The writer forgets how many times the subject came up.

Solution: Revise, revise, revise.  I’ll revise it myself and have someone else revise it too. (Make sure they are honest about revision)

Problem: The writer wants to be doubly sure the reader “gets it”.

Solution: Either they do or don’t the first time around. If they didn’t perhaps you need to revise the delivery of the point/description

Problem: Worry that the reader will forget.

Solution: I try to give the reader more credit. If you I repeat make it worth their while. A subtle reminder might do the trick better than tossing it in their face. 😉 

Basically, I try to find these repeated details whether they are as small as a physical description or something plot important. If I find too many I’ll go back to the first incident and do what I can to improve it so I don’t need to repeat.

Now sometimes information needs to be hashed out more than once, I get it, I have such tidbits in my own book, but I do try to at least make that repeat interesting for the reader by either mixing it with new information or delivering it in a more interesting and clever way.

My advice about being stuck on repeat.
Re-read this post and remember you won’t need to beat the reader over the head with important information if you deliver it well the first time. 


Other posts

Awkwardly awkward

It’s a love hate sort of thing

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16 thoughts on “Stuck On Repeat

  1. I am apt to repeat something. I have re-read and found I’ve mentioned something a 2nd time and think, why”d I do that? Take it out! It’s completely unnecessary. I find it annoying that on occasion it slips by and the 3rd time through I still see a repeat. Sometimes it’s part of the plot and necessary. In part because it was hinted at and not made much of. I am more apt to repeat not wanting my readers to feel tricked. Having said that, I still take the offending repeat out if I can. lol. Loved this Sheryl because it’s truly necessary. I hate reading books where they repeat a particular paragraph about 8 times throughout the story. I’m thinking, you already told us in detail, why the entire repeat? If someone else in the story needs clarification, ok, but, that is the only time I feel a repeat is ever necessary. You may know your character and their throught process or monumental events in their lives, but it’s highly possible they’ve kept this tidbit from a significant character (making the novel intriguing) but, you can paraphrase or explain (she told him in detail about…) since he hadn’t been aware of the …. and how it affected her life. Sound good?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny, I actually have a small paragraph that I repeated word for word from book one into another book. It was for impact and it made the emotional scene perfect since it was a direct reference to the scene in the first book.


  2. I, too, sometimes repeat details. I guess the main reason I do it is because of the “forgetting how many times the subject came up”. Or maybe more accurately, I repeat certain details that I am particularly excited about. I do that when I talk, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: That feeling every writer knows – redesign life

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