Avoiding Repetitive Words

For an individual that loves to spend hours every day writing paragraphs upon paragraphs of content, whether it be for a novel, fanfiction, or even a drabble, we often find ourselves trapped by our own love of specific words. Every author will have a sack containing their favorite vocabulary. After all, the words we choose create the style that makes up our unique voice. However, the downside to those go-to words and a frequent writing schedule is that we’ll forget to diversify. Repetitive words (even amazing words) will leave your work stale or even diminish the impact you were trying to make with a certain sentence.

Take a look at some of your writing. Do you see any words in there that you seem to use all the time? Repeatedly? Several times in the same scene? We’re not talking about the common words like “the” or “and”. Descriptive words! Said. Awesome. Good. Nice. Mad. Engorged.

If you find yourself over using a word, switch it out with something different. You might find that changing that one single world can add a whole different kind of atmosphere or oomph to the scene. Adding additional words can flesh it out even more.

FOR EXAMPLE:

The food tasted good.

The food tasted amazing.

The food tasted incredible.

The food tasted like a soggy wet box with salt dumped on it.

The food tasted like a sweet and spicy mix of heaven.

Before you break out that thesaurus, consider whether or not the new word is something your readers will understand and if it actually makes sense. Where it’s fun to occasionally toss in unique words that no one has ever heard of before, if you pepper your entire work with them you’ll end up with paragraphs of nonsense.

YOUR EXERCISE

Read the paragraph below. Rewrite this paragraph using more interesting words and sentences. Do not use any of the descriptive words that are already in the paragraph. You can make this scene as long or as short as you want, just make sure not to repeat yourself.


He walked into the dark room. On the table was a brown leather bound book. He picked it up and began to read. Inside were beautiful pictures. More colorful images filled his vision with each turn of the page. His mind was consumed by the enchanting words. He dropped the book to the floor and fled from the room. The sound of chilling laughter followed him.

Like this article? You may also enjoy: Fleshing Out a Scene

Diana Calloway

Diana participates in many writing and community projects, including co-authoring the Silent Pines novel series and creating random generators at MixVixen. When she isn't herding cats and creating dinner out of nothing, she loves painting colorful owls, gratuitous amounts of glitter, and making themed music playlists.
Diana Calloway

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