Redundancy in Writing

What is redundancy in writing and why should you remove it?

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Redundancy in writing is something that I see quite often, and it’s become one of my pet hates. There are many ways in which writers do this but the one that I see most commonly are that characters commit an action that is inherently something, after which they describe the action as that same something. For example:

”Damn it,” Chris said aloud.

“Stop talking,” Damien whispered quietly.

The issue I have with these things is that you can’t say things silently and you can’t whisper loudly. Therefore, when you write ‘he said aloud’ what you are writing is ‘he said aloud, aloud’ and that’s incredibly redundant. The exchange should instead read:

”Damn it,” Chris said.

“Stop talking,” Damien whispered.

Now, on a technical point, I know there will be people who will say that you can speak silently, and to certain degree they are right, but there is another word for that:

Chris mouthed the words, ‘What is going on?’

There’s nothing inherently wrong in being redundant in your writing. There are a few cases in which you want to repeat certain things so that the message you’re trying to convey is put across to the reader properly, but these cases aren’t common and your main goal—as a writer—is to write what you need to write to convey the story. Removing this type of redundancy in your writing will help to make it a lot cleaner and much sharper, so it flows and reads well.

I could go on, but any more would be redundant.

David Chitty was born and raised in Thanet in the 90s. He devotes most of his energies to writing fantasy fiction novels.

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