Do You Mind Repeating That?

“I do not mind repeating….”(cue tune from the older version of Annie the musical) tell me I’m not the only one who knows that tune and now has it playing in my head, complete with imaginary leg kicks?

Generally I do find myself repeating things, especially to my children first thing in the morning, but apparently as writers it’s something we should be trying to avoid.

I came across something recently that said when writing there are three deadly sins to avoid. To be honest some of the writing sins I was sure would be in the top three didn’t feature at all and the very first sin is, repetition.

Quite a few of the repetition sins to avoid I already knew like, trying to avoid;

repeating what has already been said,

the repetition of action eg; Sam picked up the phone and dialled Jo’s number, as soon as Jo answered Sam yelled down the phone to Jo.

Repeating a characters’ name over and over again should also be avoided as it disturbs the flow of the story, like the Sam and Jo example above.

There were a few that I’ll be checking my writing for though as I’m not sure if I do them or not, these were;

Do not

Start two consecutive sentences with the same word.

There should be at least four paragraphs starting with different words before you use the same word to start a paragraph again.

There are I think, a few instances when repetition is ok and even essential, like when writing books or stories for children, in poems or for the emphasis of a point.

So what do you think of repetition? Does it deserve the spot of deadly sin number one?


4 thoughts on “Do You Mind Repeating That?

  1. Repetition (unless deliberately done for a particular reason) should be avoided but I don’t think it’s the very worst mistake a writer can make.

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