I’m dissecting the article Hunting Down the Pleonasm, by Allen Guthrie, using it as a cattle prod to search for little nasties in my manuscript. Yep, you can join in the fun, too. Let’s take a looksee at topic #7
7: If you find you’ve said the same thing more than once, choose the best and cut the rest. Frequently, I see the same idea presented several ways. It’s as if the writer is saying, “The first couple of images might not work, but the third one should do it. If not, maybe all three together will swing it.” The writer is repeating himself. Like this. This is a subtle form of pleonasm.
While I don’t do this often, I do catch myself doing it once in a while. This comes back around to dialog that moves the plot forward.
It’s tricky when you’re in a place where your main character knows something, and he/she has to relay the information to someone else to move the plot forward. If your character just rattles off everything the reader already knows, it is redundant, and boring, right? This is a tricky problem to try to wiggle around.
You need to find a creative way to make the scene flow naturally, without repeating yourself. Maybe someone else relays the information, and the person then “walks into the scene” with the main character so they can discuss. Or, maybe allude to your main character relaying the information (creatively of course) and then continuing with the dialog.
Whichever way you choose, the most important thing is to not repeat yourself. You need to keep the plot moving forward… not shifting backwards.
What creative ways have you come up with the wiggle around this problem?