Lessons Learned...The Rejection Way #5

Friday, April 23, 2010
Recurring Repetitiveness

Some bloggers out there are amazing about giving writing advice, it makes me jealous. I’ve always wanted to be able to use my fourteen years of writing experience to somehow help others, but I still don’t feel as if I have any useful knowledge to share. The only thing I'm good at is making mistakes…so, I started my “Lessons Learned” series, and decided to share my mistakes to help others.

Here is the fifth reason I’ve received a rejection for a submitted manuscript.

I usually receive rejections for problems with the actual storyline itself. Plot complications. But on one (okay, maybe two) rejections, I was lectured for my actual writing style. I tend to repeat myself, or at least add extra stuff I really don’t need to add.

Here’s an example. I like to say stuff like, “He kicked her with his foot,” or “He felt himself smile.” Or “He really shouldn’t get so much satisfaction from hurting his sister, he thought.” In each of those phrases, I can tighten and cut out a lot of repetitive, unnecessary stuff.

On the first sentence, I should’ve cut out “with his foot” because, honestly, what else would he kick her with? His ear?

Next, always try to erase the word feel, felt, or feeling if you can help it (or so I’ve learned). The second sentence would’ve been much tidier if I’d simply said, “He smiled.”

And finally…if you’re writing from one person’s point of view, you really don’t need to add “he thought” since we’re pretty much reading everything he’s thinking already.

Ergo, the three lines should go a little something more like: Jack kicked her and smiled. He really shouldn’t get so much satisfaction from hurting his sister.

But that’s just receptiveness on the sentence level. I’ve also been accused of doing it on the paragraph level. I’ll describe something in one sentence, and then in the next line, I’ll say basically the same thing another way. So, stay on the lookout for that too; try to cut out as much as you can.

Good luck with your WIP.


  1. Good advice!
    I usually have to edit two sentences into one, because I've been repetitive, too.

  2. Great examples! :O)

  3. Great examples! I still find myself repetitive-so don't over worry-just do your best to fix. Cheers~

  4. I've learned so much from editors about what no to do, similar to your examples.

    Hugs on the rejections.

    I just got a royalty statement and it wasn't a rejection but it was a kick in the gut. Only 4 copies sold of my new release. And I promoted it. What happened?: