marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,


And repetitions and repeating yourself and saying the same thing over and over again. . . .

Can be interesting in writing.

In a scene, it's simpler.  Because even though important matters deserve to be described in detail, you have to figure out some way to do it without repeating your details.  (I recently read a gem:  "an androgynous figure of indeterminate sex."  Err-- pick one, please.)  Or, any rate, recasting them so that it is not obvious that you are repeating them.

('cept in dialog, to characterize.  Even there a sparing hand is wise.  Especially since the characterization from it can be contrasted with other characters, who speak more economically, so much repetition is not needed.)

But in a longer work, significant details are likely to be noticed more than once.  Which means they probably need to get mentioned more than once.  L. Frank Baum, for instance, color-coded Oz.  But once he mentioned the color to set the scene, he frequently forgot all about it until you moved into a new quadrant with a new color.  The problem is telling when you are belaboring it, and when you are leaving it out when it would appear. . . with the added trick that some readers will think you're doing the first when others think you're doing the later.
Tags: description, style

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