Wordslinger: Double Penetration

Have you ever been reading a book and the author says the exact same thing two sentences in a row? Sure, they change some words around, maybe reverse the observational order, embellish it a little, but essentially repeat themselves. It’s just a natural instinct to be understood completely and there’s scarcely an author living or dead who hasn’t been trapped by literature’s version of the double-take.

I don’t know why this is such a subconscious temptation and even though they’re far easier to spot than typos, we let them slip by time and time again. No author wants to be pedantic, but writers are somehow blind to their existence even after the editing process. Even readers allow a certain amount of repetition, (did you notice that the first two sentences of this paragraph basically said the same exact thing)?

Reminding readers of certain facts throughout a novel is necessary, but what I’m talking about here is those horrific instances that occur right next door to each other, (or at least in the same neighborhood). Some of my absolute favorite authors fall victim to this more frequently than I would prefer, but I don’t really mind and I certainly don’t blame them. But I want to make sure I keep it under wraps in my own writing and I have a plan in place to succeed.

I have said many times in these Wordslinger posts (ironic in this moment, I know), that authors can get too close to their work and miss things. Getting other people involved to review your work, especially if they have different focus goals, is the best way to clean and clear your fiction.

Film directors and producers have long known that movies exist in three forms: the written version, the shot version, and the edited version. They recognize that these processes build on each other like Legos (SPACESHIP!) They have their individual merits, but the combined efforts and talents of people over time make the finished product.

Not surprisingly, many directors have learned to love the editing process because it allows them to change everything from tone to pacing without sacrificing the material. The same can be true for a novel. First you write it, then you re-read and re-work the entire piece, (what I call a squeegee), and finally you turn it over to social or professional editors who will begin rounds of magnification that will really start to bring out the essential soul of the book and polish the pivotal moments.

Have I ever mentioned that my wife and I read our stories out loud to each other? I hope I have because I can’t say enough how different things sound to my ears than they look to my eyes.

Even if you have betas, and editors, it is shockingly easy to miss instances of double dipping so you need to assign yourself or someone else, to look for this specifically. I’d encourage you to just spot and eliminate them as you are writing, but again I have to acknowledge the hypnotic power they have to go unseen at the time of conception.

At least when you do find them, you get to pick your favorite to keep.

Your Pal,
Morgan

Advertisements

Posted on April 15, 2014, in Morgan Locklear, Wordslinger, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: