CWM: #3 — Repeating words for emphasis

In some cases, repeating words helps.

“Please, Elie,” I begged. “You have to do this. You know how much it means to me. Please.”

Notice how please repeats? It doesn’t overdo the dialogue since they’re separated out. It feels smooth.

On the other hand, I’ve seen writers use the word please about five times in one spot.

“Please, Elie,” I begged. “Please. You have to do this. Please. You know how much this means to me. Please. You have to! Please!”

Repeating words can get too much.

I’ve had readers tell me before that I repeated a word too much when I used it twice in one paragraph. That may be an extreme, but it’s something to look out for. If you repeat a word, ask yourself if it’s essential.

A good way to find repeated words is to read your work out loud. You’ll realize you’ve said the word recently and catch the red flag.

Or you can use the search tool and type in words that usually repeat, such as:

  • A lot
  • Character names
  • Good
  • Many
  • Said

Some words that may repeat could be specific to your story. For example, if you’re writing a fantasy piece about wizards, they may be:

  • Magic
  • Potion
  • Spell
  • Wand
  • Wizard

Check for repeated words even if you don’t think there are some. Just in case. You might be surprised.

I hope this helps!

Want more?

#1 — Using multiple adjectives
#2 — Vagueness for tension
#4 — Common misused words
#5 — Misusing hyphens

#6 — Unnecessary details
#7 — Not developing characters
#8 — The words feel and felt
#9 — Overusing character names
#10 — Adding too many details with commas

#11 — Different types of dashes
#12 — Not using plain language
#13 — Dialogue tags vs. action beats
#14 — Misusing commas
#15 — No sentence variation

#16 — Misplaced modifiers
#17 — Characters with similar names
#18 — When to start new paragraphs
This was originally posted on my writing blog.

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