Ah, yes. A sneaky little sucker. Why do we feel the need to over explain things in our writing?? I blame my dad. he always overinstructed everything he taught us to do. We would nod and roll our eyes and mumble, "Yes, Dad... we've got it."
Truthfully, I don't even notice it when I revise. It seems so natural for me to read redundancy because I know it's me explaining to the reader. But it all goes back to trusting the reader--understanding they are intelligent and can make intuitive leaps and bounds. Just like with my dad ... he couldn't assume that we understood the first round of instructions because we were young.
Recently, I attended kidlit agent Mary Kole's WD webinar. Ironically, it was redundant for me. Only because I'm past the point of what she was teaching on the teen/tween market. (Stuff I've already researched) However, there were some great reminders and interesting to have her perspective as coming from one of the top kid lit agencies in the country, Andrea Brown.
My main incentive for participating was the 250 word critique Mary was offering everyone of their first page. This, I could not resist. And since I'd recently wrote a brand new chapter for FLOAT, I needed her critique badly. She was amazing on the turn around time. Two weeks later she emailed the critique, and what was her number one issue with my writing??? You guessed it.... REDUNDANCY!
I'd even had betas read the first chapter and they hadn't caught it, either. Not to say they're not great betas... I love, love, love my betas! I don't know if I'd notice it, either. Obviously, I don't notice it in my own work. Mary picked out three different paragraphs from my first page where I restated something I'd already said, but in a different way. She said I started the story in a good place, but I'm not trusing the reader to get it.
Hmm.... I said to myself. That mans I have to go back through the entire ms and edit for redundancy alone. Cool. Glad it's apparent to me now. I plan to watch out for it. Also, she mentioned when writing in first person, imagine yourself sitting around a campfire telling a story. Don't use an outside-looking-in approach. In my dialogue I had used the tag: I said, my voice quiet, determined.
That was her point... that a person would never tell a story like that about themselves, that that is a third person narration technique.
Hopefully, that will help some of you as well. I'll post more on Mary's webinar later next week. I've got a busy day ahead and have our Annual Witch's Ball tonight. Some girlfirends from high shool and I do it every year in costume. This year the theme is "Queens." So I'm dressing as the White Queen from Wonderland and I'll post pics later.
Any of you have any thoughts on redundancy? Does it plague your work as well? If not, what does?