If you are an amateur writer, you must have had (or still have) a period when it seems the more you write, the more of a writer you are. Excessive wordiness is a common trait for many authors who have not developed their writing style yet (although it can also be a part of a style, but in order to write this way decently, your skill level has to be high).
One of the ways to instantly improve your writing is to use the anti-redundancy knife. When you write, you most likely don’t notice how many pointless words or even sentences you use. This refers to descriptions (most often), dialogues, sentence structure, and even punctuation. How can punctuation be redundant? Well, I bet you’ve seen writing full of ellipses and exclamation marks, and it seems characters either yell at each other or speak in meaningful hints.
The plot may also suffer from redundancy. For example, if you saturate your story with a number of episodes that do not serve any particular purpose, and are not connected to the main storyline, then these episodes are probably redundant.
Stating obvious things like, “The sky was clear and the moon was full, and so its light was bright,” falls under the category of redundancy as well.
What is bad about allowing redundancy? First, you risk to lose your readers’ attention, because it is easy to lose the plot behind decorations. Secondly, redundantly written pieces of text are boring to read.
So, I suggest you to use the anti-redundancy knife to increase the quality of your writing. What does it mean? It means to be ruthless with your own creation, and exclude everything that does not fit in the following criteria: concise, credible, demonstrative. By “concise” I mean your writing should contain only what serves the purpose of developing the plot, character, or atmosphere. “Credibility” means what you write could be believed in. Like, when your main character is a handsome blonde doctor in nuclear physics of about 20 years old, a perfect wife and mother, this is hardly credible (well, maybe people like this do exist, but I haven’t met any). And ‘demonstrative’ means your writing should put a strong image in readers’ heads using only a few powerful tools. In other words, it’s better to paint with larger strokes.
In my opinion, everything that does not meet these criteria is redundant, and thus should be avoided or edited. Hope you find this short guide useful. Enjoy!
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