Prose Repetition

by Cyclone
(USA)

Question: Repeating some words in novel is unavoidable but in what case will your prose writing be tagged as repetitive in literary expertise?


Answer: When it's noticeable. Especially if the repetition distracts from the meaning of the story rather than driving it home.

Certain words stand out more than others, and if you use them more than once in a paragraph it starts to look like you're being a little lazy with your description. This is especially true if the word in question has a lot of synonyms you could have used instead of repeating the same word.

Remember that pronouns also serve a purpose in helping you avoid using the same word too many times within a paragraph by replacing it with a pronoun the second time.

On the other hand, some short, common words are so common they are invisible and do not distract from the story even if they are used frequently.

It's worth remembering that you don't need a big vocabulary to write well. Shakespeare had a vocabulary of around 15,000 words, while the writers of the first English Bible had a vocabulary of only around 5,600 words, yet both are examples of great writing.

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