I was reading a post on Nathan Bransford’s blog where he was discussing author’s bad habits. One of the ones he mentioned was using the same words too often. I mean how many times can someone smile on the same page? Same chapter, yes, maybe there can be a few, but…well, you get the idea.
So I went back through a few of my chapters to see if I make that same mistake. In general, I think I’m all right. As far as each individual chapter goes, I don’t repeat too much. That said, in the book overall, I’m wondering if there are some things I repeat a lot. For example: there are a number of places in my story where the main character is frustrated. What do people do when they’re frustrated? They take a deep breath to try and calm down. They throw their hands in the air. They shake their head in frustration. They pace. There are only so many believable things people do. Coming up with new and creative ways to say it or even different ideas that convey the message someone’s frustrated is difficult. I can’t just say, “He’s frustrated.” Where’s the showing in that?
Another example that comes to mind is a scene where everyone’s happy. They’re laughing and smiling, right? But I can’t just write “laugh” and “smile” every two sentences. I have to convey the tone and message that everyone’s happy without actually saying it too much. You understand the dilemma. Hopefully, there are some of you other writers out there who understand. What do you do?