Welcome to my new weekly feature, Lindsey Learns! New year, time for a change. I started this blog a year ago, in January 2010. Thus far, I haven't had any regular blog features but now, along with my resolution to write 100 words (or more) a day (which so far has turned into multiple hundreds daily, yay!), I've decided to try to focus more on specific areas of writing in at least one post a week.
We all read. A lot. And we can't help but to read as writers. We read and marvel at word choice or characterization or plot twists, or we read and wrinkle our noses (admit it, you do too) at things that make us wonder how on earth this book got published.
This feature is based on whatever I am reading at the moment (so, yes, you are at the mercy of my readerly whims) and whatever I happen to learn as I am reading. My goal is to write about it and then open the subject up for discussion in the comments. Please come on along for the ride!
For the record, I will use book titles in any post discussing something positive in my reading. Whereas it is not my goal to ever bash a book or a writer, if I am writing about something that bugs me in a book, I will not use titles or author names. Let the games begin!
Lindsey Learns... Not to Be Repetitive
Ha, so I just repeated my post title. Pretend you don't notice. Ok, so the idea for this new weekly blog feature came to me just before Christmas as I was trudging my way through a YA book that I really did not like. I plowed through it, but as I was reading, I kept thinking - wow, why did the author do that? Or why won't he explain what this made-up creature looks like, because I can't picture it in my head? And I got to thinking that I learn as much from "bad" books as I do good ones as I do books on the craft of writing. So why not put those thoughts into post form and begin some discussion. Are you with me?
The good news is that after Christmas, I read a very good quick book (Flipped, so darn cute, loved it) and began reading two other books that I am enjoying quite a bit more than that other crazy, confusing one. One is billed as a YA "postapocalyptic romance" (Book A) and the other is a paranormal YA (Book B). I am not using their titles here not because I dislike them - actually, they are both interesting and I am quite compelled to find out what will happen in both. However, strangely enough, they share a trait that is bugging the heck out of me - they are both very repetetive in language.
Book A's main character and all of the other major characters are constantly crumbling. That word is used to describe their despair over and over, they are constantly falling to their knees. There are always tears crowding their eyes or tears burning eyes or tears springing to eyes and eyes meeting. The main character is quite often struck with some knowledge, or struck with a new understanding, or struck with disbelief. And there is a lot of hand gripping. Much description of hands and what they are doing (and no, it's nothing naughty, stop that!). The MC is constantly struggling with urges. The story here is nicely original and is definitely engaging, but I find myself wondering at the same words being used over and over. I do realize that that can be a style choice, but it's really standing out to me.
|Gripping, isn't it?|
I'm sort of scratching my head here at why some of these words were not edited into synonyms or similar ideas. I mean, "dull aches" can be described in many ways, can't they? I mean, I can completely relate to the need to keep saying that the MC is aching, but why not change up the wording a bit? Or is this something that just bothers me? I'm finding that I enjoy both books, but this is the one nagging thing that is bugging me.
So let's discuss your thoughts on this, and also, are there certain words or phrases that you know you repeat in your own writing that you've had to edit? I'll be curious when I am much further into my WiP to check and see if I am doing the same thing!