Pete and Repeat were Walking Down the Street ...

Lately Anne Mini has been talking about one of my biggest problems as a writer. As I understand it, repetition leaps off the page and shouts in the face of a person trained to read for a living, and it doesn't bother me at all.

Until I see someone reusing whole phrases, or using the same descriptor multiple times in a paragraph, or overusing swear words--one may be an attention-grabbing slap, but curse-littered speech feels like a verbal fistfight--I'm not going to be offended by a few repeats. Consequently, my otherwise strict inner editor has to see a word many times before irritation begins to register.

In order to make myself catch the problems, then, I made a word cloud of my novel yesterday and then transformed the most-used words--excluding names--into capitals. There's nothing that annoys me more than unnecessary use of all caps (I make an exception for the super-fun band ALL CAPS); it's like having someone yell the word in a stream of quiet conversation. But even I can't miss the problem when I read a paragraph in which the word TOOK appears very loudly three times, none of them referring to hobbits or Canadian knit caps. Ack.

Writers, have you tried this?


  1. I just love curse-littered speech feels like a verbal fistfight! I may borrow that for use in my writing classes -- with attribution, of course.

  2. I rather enjoyed writing that, Anne! Borrow as you please. Thanks for coming by.


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