How to cure 22 annoying and repetitive writing tics

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Everyone has writing habits. Some of them are even endearing. But when repeated, they draw attention to themselves, and that’s a distraction from whatever you’re trying to communicate. Every manuscript I edit has a problem like this. They’re all different. But they all need fixing. They’re often invisible to the writer, even if when they’re … Continued

Repetition in writing: why it happens, what it means, and how to fix it

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Every editor has had this experience: deep into a manuscript, you find yourself reading a familiar passage. Sure enough, it duplicates content that was earlier in the manuscript. Don’t just delete it. Ask yourself why it’s there, and use that knowledge to make the manuscript better. Why writers repeat themselves All writers repeat information in … Continued

An editor’s notebook: when repeated words are the author’s “binky”

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Which words does your author come back to again and again? As an editor, your eye and ear must detect these repetitions, but that’s not sufficient. You need to understand why the author comes back to them and suggest fixes that improve meaning, rather than just creating variety. In a business book I recently edited, the … Continued

Make an Idea Map to visualize your book’s idea flow

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Some nonfiction books just seem to flow naturally from idea to idea. Others seem repetitive — as if the author is just hitting the same idea again and again. An Idea Map can help you visualize your concepts and organize them to avoid repetition. I’m nearing completion on my manuscript for Writing Without Bullshit, and I wanted … Continued