Thursday, May 18, 2006

"Sighted Sub; Sank Same"


Words float our boat.
Once away from Miss Bustlewhistle's bony knees, some of us , either in a spirit of rebellion or sheer forgetfulness, sail along on a swelling sea of words.
More than that, we may wallow in the troughs broadside in serious danger of being broached.
The result can be the 235,000 word first novel that needs serious dry-docking.
Even those of us who may run a taut ship may need the barnacles scraped off every so often.
While cruising through Miss Bustlewhistle's bible, The Navigator, aka Ye Olde Grammar Booke, I came across the pilot's notation of another of those hidden reefs and wondered if I had fouled my anchor and was in danger of running aground.
On the manifest was a little section on Concise Sentences called Avoid repetition of ideas - redundancy.
Examples:
cheap in price.... win out, lose out
the two twins.... divide up, hurry up
th fingers on her hand.... at about one o'clock
the sun rose in the east.... over with
fell off of.... in my opinion, I think
inside of the cave.... remember of

And my special hate - that makes me quite willing to hang the guilty party from the nearest yardarm...
refer back.

I must add, for Mark's benefit, that, naturellement, these interdictions do not apply to dialogue or certain types of first person narrative.

Am preparing depth charges.

19 comments:

Erik Ivan James said...

Valuable stuff for us newbies...Teach. Keep it up Dear Gal, and you'll have:

"The Pocket Manual for Newbie Writers"--by Miss Bernita

For The Trees said...

Ah, Bernita: Ah! Bernita!

Repetition is good. Repetition is GREAT! Repetition is what every insurance salesman in the world does to impress his points on the dullards he's selling to. It's necessary to say it several times, several ways. From different points of view. Several times. Ah, Bernita...repetition is good.

Repetition is good. Repetition is GREAT! Repetition is what every insurance salesman in the world does to impress his points on the dullards he's selling to. It's necessary to say it several times, several ways. From different points of view. Several times. Ah, Bernita...repetition is good.

Especially if you're writing to today's TV generation. Think of it as the repetition of commercials...

kmfrontain said...

LOL, another brilliant topic, Bernita. Damn, but I look for those and don't always see them.

Ah, I see that "for the trees" already fired a torpedo.

Bernita said...

Oh crap, Erik, don't want to come across as Miss Bustlewhistle II.
Besides that market is seriously overcrowded.

Forrest, you're sunk.
There is a place for Purposeful Repetition.
You have mistaken Careless, Dumb Redundancy for Useful Reiteration.
Go to the Corner.

I think it behooves me to check over mine too, KM.
Forrest fired a dud.

jason evans said...

You're building such a treasure of tips here. Grammar and language skills without a mere slapdash rant. You're taking the time to be comprehensive and informative. Thanks!

Bernita said...

Don't know about any treasury, Jason, but thank you.
This stuff is partly designed to remind myself to smarten up because I am culpa too.

Ric said...

THis is such a fun place to see how other minds work.

Keep it up.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I'm with Erik....me thinks thee needs an Archive file wherest thy minions may review the error of thy ways....LOL....I think I got dropped on my head!

These short lessons are great refreshers. Everyday, I find something else to look for in the chapters I'm reworking!

Bernita said...

That's cryptic, Ric ( she said from her petrie dish) would you care to expand that comment?

Am just glad if it helps, Bonnie, though it's basic nit-picky stuff.

Mark Pettus said...

I'm not sure I understand. I may need to refer back to my notes.

I'm with Jason. These tips are fun and enlightening, and told with your signature wit and charm. Bravo.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Mark.
That is very kind.

Dennie McDonald said...

I am all for efficiency and redundant anything drives me nutso... so time consuming

Bernita said...

Dennie's lean and mean.

One should also exclude humour from condemnation.
Remember a fellow who sprinkled "twins - two or so" in a short story for comic effect.

Flood said...

Wiki lists some redundancies as:

"added bonus, and plus, ATM machine, end result, free gift, future plans, hot water heater, angry with rage, IP property, killed him dead, new beginning, past history, PIN number, plan ahead, preplan, safe haven, tuna fish, unconfirmed rumours, USB bus, self-verbing myself."

I found that searching for 'free gift' because that's my pet peeve. I also dislike 'the reason is because.'

Your 'fingers on her hand' cracked me up, though. I have to watch out for that.

Bernita said...

One could argue that ATM machine and PIN number are redundancies only in the technical sense - that because of the enormous number of acronyms floating around machine and number are added for clarity.
Nevertheless, it's a great list.
Thank you, Flood.

Bhaswati said...

This is such a good reminder, Bernita, as are most of your posts. Not only that, they are so fun to read because of your characteristic wit and succinct writing style.

Keep these coming!

Bernita said...

What a pleasant thing to read, especially from an elegant writer as yourself, Bhaswati!
Thank you.

Ballpoint Wren said...

I hate stuff like, "we anticipate in the future."

Bleah!

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