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Writing Redundancies

1 Jul

A topic that came up frequently at my last MFA residency was redundancy. Beginning writers are most guilty of this prose sin, but even veterans make slip-ups. I know I do! In the spirit of keeping us all honest, I’m beginning a series of posts on frequent redundancies. I’ll cover the ones I’ve seen the most, and offer suggestions on rooting them out. The result should be clearer prose for all.

The first offender is motion verb + body part redundancy. I see this one all the time, and I’m always surprised when it crops up in my own pages.

Examples: He reached for a cupcake with his hand. She kicked the ball with her foot. I slapped him with my palm.

Why are these bad? Because reached, kicked, and slapped are very specific motion verbs, and readers will assume the body part being used. Anything more is padding word count, unless it has special significance. If the character’s reaching with his tail, then do tell. Otherwise, keep it simple.

I’d revise as: He reached for the cupcake. She kicked the ball. I slapped him.

In this case, cutting the extra words makes for clearer, more concise action.


ODESSA release day with author Rebecca Ryals Russell

1 Apr

Today is release day for debut author Rebecca Ryals Russell! ODESSA, The first novel in her Seraphym Wars Series is now out with Muse It Up Publishing. Rebecca dropped by to share her thanks and a bit about how she’ll be spending the day. Please visit Rebecca on twitter or her blog to wish her well.

Congrats, Rebecca!


On April 1st I will wake early, ride my stationary bike and eat some Raisin Bran then drink my one cup of coffee while checking my book’s buy page at Muse It Up Publishing

I’ll look through my email, answer what’s pressing and save the rest. Next, I’ll visit the first stop on my month-long Blog Tour at Totally4YA . After that I’ll go by my own blog at YA & MG Fantasy Author Rebecca Ryals Russell and see what’s shaking there, since I’ll be running a Release Giveaway Awesome Prize Pak.

While watching Supernatural on TV, I’ll probably visit Twitter and mention my book’s birthday and chat with friends, then I’ll go to Facebook and do the same. I’ll check out my groups on Goodreads and list myself in the Published Authors section. I’ll tune into some of the author loops I follow and chat for awhile. Then I’ll visit and chat with the various groups I’m a member of and on the forum.

Again, I’ll check my email. After all of that excitement, I’ll revisit Totally4YA and answer any questions readers may have posted. Then I might do a little writing on my next WIP, which is Long Tu, the next book in the MG series Stardust Warriors.

By then it’ll be time to pick up my son at the college and my other son at his school.

When we get home I’ll check my email, for the millionth time, answer any that need responses and check into Totally4YA then my blog again to answer questions. I’ll check back with YALitChat and my author loops.

By this time it’ll probably be time to go to dinner with my husband and celebrate the release of my very first book and the first of many more to come.

When we arrive back home I’ll check my email, Totally4YA, my blog and answer anything needing a response. Then I’ll check my schedule and see that I’m still at Totally4YA, but with a different posting for day 2. I’ll relax by writing a little until around 2am then go to bed.

Before falling asleep I will Thank God for giving me the talent and ability to write and for sending me to MuseItUp Publishing. And I will ask Daddy, whom I hope is in Heaven, if he’s proud of his little girl since he always wrote but never had the courage to pursue it professionally.