August 1, 2016

Mastering Writer Redundancy

By DiAnn Mills

We’ve all received the same critiques from agents, readers, writer buds, professional editors, and those representing publishing houses.

“Dear writer, you have a redundancy problem.”

“Dear writer, you used the word that over 450 times in a 300 word manuscript.”

“Dear writer, how many times does your character swallow hard in one story?”

We gasp. This can’t possibly be me. We attempt to hide our embarrassment and spend hours jotting down our weasel words and phrases. We begin the “search and find” process with our trusty thesaurus as our guide, and hope we aren’t blind to those words that pop up continuously throughout our manuscripts.

Writers, we can’t explain away redundancies with excuses like—the word is part of my character’s voice, or it’s a word frequent to the setting, or the word says so much more to me. Excuses for not correcting our flaws don’t make us bestselling writers. Instead, it leaves us with rejections and painful rewrites. The art of story is a learning process. We must always perfect our craft and push ourselves to exceed what we never dreamed possible.

I grew tired of my critique buds pointing out the overuse of words. So I embarked upon a quest to find a solution before anyone saw my story. What I discovered was a gold mine, one my publisher and readers appreciate. The self-satisfaction increased my confidence too.

Click on which brings up Word Frequency Counter. Note the description, “Our word frequency counter allows you to count the frequency usage of each word in your text. Paste or type in your text below, and click submit. Also try our Phrase Frequency Counter.” At last an editing paradise. I slipped into nirvana mode, noting it was free.

The tool guided me through the process of avoiding redundancy, and it’s made me a more proficient writer. Here are Ten Reasons why using Word Frequency Counter sharpens the skills of a masterful writer.

1.     Our mistakes are rectified before our stories are seen by anyone. The practice of giving readers our best is a sign of professionalism and success.
2.     Our vocabularies increase by searching for words that articulate exactly what is meant.
3.     Our ability to fashion word pictures increase, and the experience heightens the reader’s experience.
4.     Our reputations grow as writers who care about the quality of the story line.
5.     Our reputations grow as writers who care about the mechanics of story.
6.     Our confidence increases each time we resolve a problem.
7.     We are inspired to develop stories that challenge our imaginations.
8.     We’re able to help other writers who struggle with redundancy.
9.     Agents and editors strive for writers who offer a fresh appeal to the publishing world while creating stories to entertain.
10.  Readers long to read our next book and the next because we have satisfied their adventuresome spirit for a quality story.

No writer should ever taste the bitterness of rejection from overusing words and phrases. We can overcome the hurdle and race on toward the goal called publication. 

How have you determined to eliminate redundancy from your writing?
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall. Her books include FIREWALL - Tyndale - July 2014, DOUBLE CROSS - Tyndale April 2015, DEADLOCK - Tyndale October 2015 and her latest release DEADLY ENCOUNTER - Tyndale August 2016, released today. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of Americas Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at

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