Redundantly Redundant Redundancies

Redundancies in writing are common. They eat up valuable word space when I’m trying to get my word count down. They are sometimes used to ‘beef’ up a piece when a writer uses them on purpose to increase their word count.

Redundancies are two words put together that are different but mean the same thing. Some of them are filter words and I catch them when I look for filter words.

The thing about redundancies is that they don’t improve the writing at all, it’s the opposite. If I leave them in the impression that might be left with a reader or publisher is that I’m lazy… or worse. So, they have to go.

Redundant word pairings are often hard to spot because we get used to seeing and using them.

Personally, when I’m reading and I see these redundancies in dialogue way too much, I think the character “speaking” is pompous, arrogant or an idiot.

Scott stopped and looked at Amber a brief moment as she ignored his presence. “Amber do you have the proofs on the Foreign Imported Tuna fish project?”
“I need more time to assemble it together. It is absolutely essential I check the actual facts before I can sign off on it. I’ll be done by ten A.M this morning.”
“Works for me, I want the final outcome to be perfect, that’s my ultimate goal.”
“I really like this layout. The way they eliminate altogether the empty space by blending together the illustrated drawing with the landscape scenery.
Scott nodded and touched her shoulder gently. “I look forward to the final outcome. On a side note, how are you? Are you okay?”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “No, I’m not. My emotions are all mixed together.”
“I know.” He nodded. “You’re my friend. I had to ask the question. Lunch later?”
“Sure.” She turned back to her work as he walked away. (161)

>>>

Scott stopped and looked at Amber a moment as she ignored his presence. “Amber do you have the proofs on the imported Tuna project?”
“I need time to assemble it. It is essential I check the facts before I can sign off on it. I’ll be done by ten.”
“Works for me Amber, I want the final perfect, that’s my goal.”
“I really like this layout. The way they eliminate the space by blending the illustrated with the scenery.”
Scott nodded and touched her shoulder gently. “I look forward to the final. On a side note, how are you? Are you okay?”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “No, I’m not. My emotions are all mixed.”
“I know.” He nodded. “You’re my friend. I had to ask. Lunch later?”
“Sure.” She turned back to her work as he walked away. (140)

Well, this is still not great. It could use some personal touches and further editing, the point is that by eliminating one of the two redundant words I was able to make it less weird and take out 21 words easily. Notice I took out AM in the morning completely. It’s a workplace, and before lunch, therefore 10 am is implied. With the redundancies gone, I’m much happier with how it flows. 

When I was researching which ones to look out for I found “200 redundancies commonly used” found on grammar.about.com. Check out the website for the full list.

Advance forward
Armed gunman
Ascend up or ascended up (up, up and away with up)
Bouquet of flowers
Careful scrutiny
Circulate around
Closed fist
Descend down or Descended down (take down that down!)
Earlier in time
Edible food

Follow after
Frozen ice/tundra/snow
Grow in size
Edge of the cusp
Hurry up (well ‘up’ with anything, check it out ‘up’ is a big filter word)
Input into
Join together
Kneel down (down is another filter word, look for it and see if it’s necessary)
Knowledgeable experts (opposed to unknowledgeable experts.. silly but I’ve seen this one recently)
Lag behind (It would be tricky to lag ahead…)
Live witness (Unless zombie or vampire witnesses are a common thing, ditch the ‘live’)
Local residents (They wouldn’t be residents if they were from out of town.)
Made out of (take out, out)
A new beginning (haha what other kinds of beginning could there be?)
New recruit (‘new’ is a word to look out for it’s often redundant)
Old custom/cliché/proverb (‘Old’ is a filter word to watch out for. Ditch the old if describing something inherently old)
Open up (Oh that danged up!)
Outside in the yard (unless of course your yard is in your basement, then that would warrant explanation too funny.)
Over exaggerate (This partly borrowed list incredible list is seriously very wordy and abundantly over long!)
A pair of twins (Would that mean a trio of twins is three pairs of twins or six twins?
Past history/experience/memories/records (See new in the list above)
Regular routine
Shiny in appearance (Actually get rid of ‘in appearance’ after any description)
Two equal halves (Half is half of one hole right?)
Visible to the eye (unless writing sci-fi it’s not visible to the nose)
Warn in advance (one of my favorites. *eye roll)

My advice about redundancies in writing.
If it’s excessively redundant remove one of the superfluous words by taking it out.   😉

-Sheryl

Other posts

Something different, something fun

The ‘been there, done that’ people

No “Filter Word” Parking Here

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

I used this website as reference:   grammar.about.com/od/words/a/redundancies.htm
Gone
Cusp

Local

Edible

The ‘been there, done that’ people

I have no illusions to the fact that I need sometimes need an expert’s advice and help.  Why? Because I am not a professional writer nor editor and there are always going to be someone that knows more or has more experience than I do. I would be a fool to pass it up for ego’s sake.

That advice and information that I’ve found has been instrumental to me getting where I am today with my book. I have seen some people shun the advice of experts for a few reasons. Ego, laziness, and even fear. Yes fear. Taking advice from someone ‘better’ than I am, can be intimidating. What if they say my work is crap? But, what if they don’t? Even if they did, I would hope that they would advise me on what is needed to un-crappify it.

Without advice I would never have turned this:

The seats were all full at the coffee shop. Abigale liked routine and needed to sit. Even though the other occupant at the table was that annoying guy she approached him.
“May I sit here?” She asked.
“I don’t think so.” He replied and put his foot on the chair.
“Jerk.” She said and walked away.

Into this:

The café was unusually busy with the patrons from the busker’s carnival outside. Abigale needed her routine, sit, drink her coffee and read blogs before work. There was only one seat at a small table; and that unpleasant lowlife was seated at it.

She hastily glanced around and swallowed her pride. “Excuse me. May I sit?”
Billy looked up from his book. “I don’t think so.” He put his sneaker-clad foot on the vacant seat.
Her mouth fell open and she furrowed her brow with a hard exhale.

A young couple nearby surveyed the area and made eye contact with Billy.
He smiled at them. “I’m done here if you two want these seats.”
“Oh thank you so much.” The young woman sat when Billy moved his foot and stood.
“You’re a first class jerk.” Abigale lowered her chin with a sneer.
Billy dunked his finger in her coffee. “You have no idea.” He stuck his finger in his mouth and left her staring after him in shock.

With some simple rules from those that have ‘been there and done that’, I was able to learn to turn a simple encounter into an annoying one.

My advice about experts.
Seek them out, take what advice you need and learn from them. You don’t have to do every single thing they say, but be open minded. Don’t forget some ‘experts’ are merely know-it-all’s with nothing constructive to say. I don’t pay them much attention.

-Sheryl

 

Related posts:

Read, revise and repeat. The shampoo process of editing.

Tag! You’re it.

Copyediting. Why I didn’t pay someone to destroy my fragile confidence.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 

Expert

Show and tell

Emotions are something we deal with constantly everyday. When I first started writing I told the emotions instead of showing them. ‘She was angry.’ This was lazy and hard to read. I read blogs, articles and some of the books out there such as Master lists for writers and the Emotion thesaurus. Why? Because showing emotion is a lot harder than saying it. Also because emotion generally fell within conversation and ended up at taglines. I read blogs, books and articles Learning more every time.

Here is a telling emotional conversation from my rough draft.

“Are you calling me stupid?” Erin said angrily.

Sam was glad the beds were between them and felt brave for some strange reason.

“No, but you’re acting it.” Sam said forcefully. She did not want to do this, but she was committed and had had enough of her nasty attitude.

“Insult me again Sam and you’ll be sorry.”

“I won’t be sorry Erin, because I didn’t insult you.”

“You did!” Erin shouted angrily.

“No, I said your actions were stupid.”

“It’s the same dammed thing.” She growled.

 As discussed in Tag you’re it this is a rough draft loaded with taglines and I’m telling the emotion not showing it. This is hard to read. Here is the correction.

 “Are you calling me stupid?” Erin took a step forward curling her lips back.

Sam glanced down at the two beds between them. “No, but you’re acting it.” She squared her feet and locked eyes.

This was not an ideal situation. Exhaustion and stress were wearing them all down. Tolerance for Erin’s rude comments is wearing thin.

“Insult me again and you’ll be sorry.”

“I won’t be sorry, because I didn’t insult you.” Sam took a deep breath exhaling slowly.

“You did!”

“No Erin. I said your actions were stupid.”

“It’s the same dammed thing.” Erin clenched and shook her fist slightly.

Emotions are hard to show, the key is to take a moment to think about how you feel and what do you do when you are excited? Do you jump up and down clapping your hands melodramatically? Does everyone? Not likely. There are those that do, but usually its things such as grinning, smiling, whooping, punching the air or clenching fists under the chin and hunching your shoulders. Everyone reacts differently and it’s important that your characters do too. Sam stays calm and defensive. Erin is prone to aggression and rage. However when Sam gets upset she reacts by walking away or pursing her lips while Erin would insult or lash out. Someone else might strike out physically without provocation.

My advice about emotions.
Like actions, they need to be shown not told. Watch others, ask others how they react to emotions. If you’re stumped try a resource, there are some great books out there that have better ideas.

While tricky, showing emotion draws the reader in and creates empathy. People read to experience a story so give them one to dive into.

-Sheryl

More about taglines
Tag! You’re it.

My thoughts on Filter words
No “Filter Word” Parking Here

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved