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KS Alternative Factor

How do words manage to clone themselves so often?

Yay! I finished a story. Rough draft, anyway. It’s a K/S TOS piece, a spackle on the episode “The Enemy Within”. (I plan to publish the story in my fanzine “Dark Fire” # 2.)

I’m working on the rewrite now. A quick read-through showed that, once again, I’ve fallen in love with certain words and used them a gazillion times. (I found variations on “linger” three times in six paragraphs.)

I finished the draft just before I left for MediaWest, and so the subject of word repetition was on my mind.

The airline I took to Lansing, Michigan is a strong believer in fitting in as many people as possible into as small a space as possible. They could teach canning companies how to pack sardines. When the woman in front of me lowered her seat, I could see the roots of her hair. She was practically in my lap. No place for a claustrophobe.

I took a paperback horror novel with me; reading a paperback is about the only activity I can manage on one of those flights. There’s no space for writing; a zine would take too much room to read comfortably. Thus, the paperback horror novel. Quick, fun reading.

Chapter one. There’s this character named Frank. Every time he speaks, it was - Frank whined, Frank whined, Frank whined. Or, for variety - whined Frank, whined Frank, whined Frank.

I was glad when the monster ate him at the end of the first chapter. It did occur to me to feel better about my bad habit of word repetition when a pro writer with, presumably, a pro editor, let so much word repetition get through.

Now to get back to my story and kill all those repetitions…! Maybe the pro writer doesn’t care, but I do.

Comments

I noticed that Jewel Kilcher, the folk singer, seems to be somewhat obsessed with the words 'fragile' and 'disco'.
And when you repeat uncommon words like that it really stands out.
First of all, congrats to writing a story! Looking sooo forward to this zine. It's going to be great, I'm sure :)

Then, re repetitions, my beta reminded me that I wrote a hell lot of sentences starting with "But" and "And", as well as too many "alright" (which is - debatable - not even a word).

I also have one long story in which "totally" shows up more than healthy - though I think if it's always the same POV, it actually can give a personal touch to that character (a teenage boy under extreme stress might not think of avoiding repetitions and exaggerations ;).
>>>"alright" (which is - debatable - not even a word).

"Alright" is generally considered incorrect, but tons of people use it anyway. It's not a usage I care for, and I always recommend using "all right" instead.

>>>I also have one long story in which "totally" shows up more than healthy - though I think if it's always the same POV, it actually can give a personal touch to that character (a teenage boy under extreme stress might not think of avoiding repetitions and exaggerations ;).

If it's dialogue, you can definitely repeat words all the time. If it's "mental dialogue", this sort of repetition, slang, etc., is perfectly fine, and adds to good characterization.

Some people do wonderful things with "mental dialogue".

Check out this little ficlet which J S Cavalcante just posted, and see how RayK (Due South) mentally struggles with the word "effervescent".

http://justbreathe80.livejournal.com/29113.html?thread=155065#t155065

That's a good example of 'mental dialogue'.
I accidentally ended up with nothing to listen to on a solo car trip but a Nicholas Sparks audiobook (long story how that happened, but he's 180 degrees removed from my literary preference) and ended up pulling it out of the CD deck and singing to myself in lieu of puting my fist through the dash the next time he used the phrase "X knew that..."

Had it been a book about Nostradamus, all right, but I see no point in in writing the d*#@ book when Bob and Carol apparently KNEW every thing there was to know about each other already!
>>>Had it been a book about Nostradamus, all right, but I see no point in in writing the d*#@ book when Bob and Carol apparently KNEW every thing there was to know about each other already!

LOL! Maybe they're psychics too!

Yes, given the option between really bad audio books and silence (or singing!), sometimes silence (or singing!) *is* the best option.