One of the first books I can remember reading as a youngster was Heidi.
I was fascinated by the life she led on the mountaintops with her grandfather. I begged my parents to take me on a trip up north so that I could hear my voice echo from the mountains in northern Arizona.
Who would have guessed that, years later, I would loathe them???
With so many different words to choose from, writers have little excuse for using the same ones over and over again.
There are a number of self-editing programs out there. Each one is able to help authors avoid this pitfall.
In the program I use, this is found under REPEATS (words) and ECHOES (phrases).
Much to my dismay, I always find that I am guilty of many of these on any given page.
Why do I find myself using the same words so often?
I think it is because once I have used a certain word, it is in the forefront of my mind. Then, when the next occasion presents itself, it is on the tip of my tongue, ready to be quickly and conveniently typed onto the page again.
For example, I actually used the word slipped FIVE times in two consecutive paragraphs—each time, referring to a different one of its multiple meanings:
He slipped into (Got into the car easily).
He slipped. (Fell).
He slipped her five dollars. (Gave someone money without others noticing).
He slipped. (Not meaning to, he revealed a secret.)
He slipped up. (Made a careless mistake).
When my editing program flags one of these multiple uses within close proximity, I often use my Thesaurus to find possible substitutes.
Just another one of those pitfalls authors need to avoid…