Wednesday, May 2, 2012
The Hot Heat
Today I think I'd like to talk about redundancy. In doing critiques (which is why we all need to do them for someone else) you tend to find the mistakes you yourself make -- over and over. Redundancy. The bane of my existance.
Perhaps it's from having a young child in the house. I have to keep repeating myself over and over again. Pick up your wet towels. Hang up your sweater. Put your dirty dishes in the sink. Over and over.
I also found that when I am redundant, it's usually to stress a point. The heat down here is so hot. The dirt down here is so dirty. The water in the pool is so wet.
I know, I know. Hot heat. Dirty dirt. Wet water. But it's so true. How else could I describe it? Of course, this is easy. Stifling heat. Dry red clay. Silky flowing water.
It's all in the description. However, what you must keep in mind is that your readers aren't six years old. They generally only need to be told once about the oppressive heat, the filthy mud, the refreshing pool.
They only need to be told once the husband cheated with his secretary. The old lady on the corner makes pies on Sunday. It was Sally in the library with a candlestick.
The point is, to only make the point once. Oh sure, sometimes you might want to go back to the point, to make it clearer again, but take my word for it, don't.
The other niggly thing I tend to do is use the same word in the same paragraph. Especially if it's a descriptor. The dirt is so dirty. I can't believe how the dirt gets into every little crevice. My daughter's jeans are so dirty when she comes in from school. Now, I don't know about you, but I really hate that. I always try and change my words around so we're not always looking at the same thing over and over. The dirt is so red. I can't believe how the dust gets into every little crevice. My daughter's jeans are so filthy when she comes in from school.
Subtle changes can make or break a story. Don't be redundant. Your readers aren't six years old. (Well, unless of course they are.)
Tell me -- Did I make my point? Do you want to throw some dirty dirt at me right now? Are you redundant?