Friday, January 25, 2008

More Repetition Examples

I keep forgetting to mention that I'm giving away a copy of Reluctant Smuggler by Jill Elizabeth Nelson, so leave a comment to be in the drawing. The more comments you leave, this entire month, the more chances you have to win.

Let's talk some more about repetition. This time I’m using examples from a real expert, Kate DiCamillo. I love all her books. Yes, I know she writes children’s books, but they’re powerful. I went through my copy of Because of Winn-Dixie and was awed at the way she uses repetition in all the book's most poignant moments. This book makes me cry. And I never cry at books, almost never. Do you want your reader to cry at the saddest or most touching moment in your story? Of course you do. Me, too.

Okay, here’s an example of great repetition:

All of a sudden it was hard for me to talk. I loved the preacher so much. I loved him because he loved Winn-Dixie. I loved him because he was going to forgive Winn-Dixie for being afraid. But most of all, I loved him for putting his arm around Winn-Dixie like that, like he was already trying to keep him safe.

Was that repetition boring or redundant? No, just the opposite. It’s powerful. Here’s another example:

I was glad it was raining so hard, because it made it easy to cry. I cried and cried and cried, and the whole time I was calling for Winn-Dixie.
“Winn-Dixie,” I screamed.
“Winn-Dixie,” the preacher shouted. And then he whistled loud and long. But Winn-Dixie didn’t show up.

Of course, one reason this works so well is because the protag is a young girl. It just sounds right. But you can make it work for your story and your characters, too.

7 comments:

Robin Johns Grant said...

Great examples. Sometimes the best writing is in children's books, for some reason. I've been wanting to read this one.

Pamela J said...

I have recently become aware of repetition as being boring so have worked hard at trying to use other words that are clearly evidently talking of the same subject. Just how many ways can you label a mouse without saying it IS a mouse in a short story more than once? Especially since that critter was the center of discussion? Someday I will share my story of the furry, elusive little beast.
Pam

Kathleen said...

Repitition is one of those things I struggle to balance. I don't want to be redundant, but I don't want to overlook a good tool. Thanks for the tips!

I'd love to be entered in your drawing to win the book, too.

stampedwithgrace said...

please enter me in the drawing, thanks!

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