This week I have been attacking three things in my novel.
1) Repetitious use of the same word too soon.
2) Character word choice consistency.
3) Telling instead of showing.
Repetitious use of the same word too quickly, or in the same sentence location, bothers me. It always has, from the days of ‘see spot run’ I thought that the novel would be more interesting with different words. I try to hold my novel to the same standards as any other book I read, and that means differentiating my expressions. There is a particular focus on starting three paragraphs in a row with the same word, starting three sentences in a row with the same word, or just plain overuse.
This needs to be balanced with what a characters natural word choice would be. There is an alien in my novel and he doesn’t have a full grasp of the English language. It would not be unnatural for him to start sentences with ‘I’ or to use incorrect grammar. My hard core detective keeps to short sentences full of observations while shying away from personal feelings. Keeping my word choices and sentence structure straight between my characters is hard, but I believe it will take my novel to the next level of immersion for the reader.
Lastly I’ve been keeping an eye out for telling instead of showing. This was a particular problem for me while doing NaNoWriMo because I wanted to skip over a less interesting scene for the next one I had pictured. Yet this takes away from both the plot development, and more importantly the character development. I’ve started to highlight these so that I can expand them to their proper length at a later date.