Category: Writing tips

Those favoured words

Those favoured words

Have you ever read a book where a word keeps popping up? I recently read a book that had a paragraph where three sentences began with and then. Another highly praised English author I read had me gritting my teeth at her use of began. It appeared over one hundred times in her otherwise great novel.

This kind of repetition can pull a reader out of a story, so I save lists of — words to use instead of — because it’s easy in a manuscript to repeat favoured vocabulary. I also have a short list of words I over use — that, looked, walked, relieved, for example. The list raises my awareness when I’m at the editing stage.

But opposing this suggestion is a tip I learned from author, Julie H. Ferguson about repeated words.

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More on research

More on research

On a visit to New Zealand some years back, I took over one hundred photos in one day at an important setting in a historical fiction manuscript I was preparing. Many were of signs that I didn’t actually refer to once I began writing, but having all those photos allowed me to choose the best fit. For example, the photo above may seem insignificant, but it was a location two characters passed over. Without the photo I would have forgotten this tiny detail.

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