Three Types of Redundancy to Avoid

Redundancy in a sentence is annoying, and it is also a nuisance. Conveying information in more than one way, or by repeating wording, is consciously or subconsciously distracting to the reader and contributes to compositional clutter. Note in the discussions and revisions following each example how the sentence in question can be improved by deleting such infelicities.

  1. Like Smith, Jones also owns a family-run business.

When an additive word or phrase such as like or “in addition to” introduces a sentence, using also to bridge the complementary phrases is redundant: “Like Smith, Jones owns a family-run business.”

  1. Many components, such as asset balance, deposit balance, and interest income, etc., should be sensitive to the change in the macroeconomic environment.

Use of a phrase like “such as” or “for example” (or the corresponding abbreviation e.g.) is redundant to etc. (or “and so on”): “Many components, such as asset balance, deposit balance, and interest income, should be sensitive to the change in the macroeconomic environment.” (Or “Many components—asset balance, deposit balance, and interest income, etc.—should be sensitive to the change in the macroeconomic environment.”) Note, however, that i.e., which means “that is” (or “that is” itself), pertains to clarification and not to listing of examples, so it is not redundant to etc.

  1. But the policy is not solely about consumers; it is about what the law calls a data subject. A data subject is defined as a living individual to whom personal data relates.

Avoid ending one sentence and beginning the subsequent sentence with the same word or phrase, which generally occurs when a word or phrase is introduced and then immediately defined: “But the policy is not solely about consumers; it is about what the law calls a data subject, which is defined as a living individual to whom personal data relates.”

Daily Writing Tips

Revision Tips for Writers


We can all agree writing is a joy. It’s fun and many of us make our living doing it. But, there are parts of the publishing aspect that can be frustrating and difficult. Most of us find revision to be the most difficult hurdle. “I like it the way it is. Everything there is important and I don’t see anything that needs changing.” How many of us have approached the revision process with that mindset? I think we all have, at times. In other words, you are not alone.

Although I am an editor as well as a writer, I don’t find revising my work to be easy. However, I’ve collected tidbits of advice from several writers and editors. I’ve found them helpful, so I’m sharing them here:

  1. Revise big stuff first, make small edits later. This doesn’t mean you should not correct obvious typos and grammar errors as you notice them. However, you shouldn’t be actively tinkering with word choice until after you’ve nailed down the structure of your piece.
  2. Put the manuscript down and walk away. Writers need at least a little distance from their manuscripts before jumping into revision.
  3. Scan the whole manuscript without reading. Scanning can make big problems more obvious than a writer might not notice when reading closely.
  4. Read carefully. Take your time and read every word. Then, read it out loud. This will help you catch obvious errors and check for smoothness or the “flow.”
  5.  Look for ways to be more concise with your language. Can you turn a 15-word sentence into an 8-word sentence? Can you turn an 8-sentence paragraph into a 5-sentence paragraph? Less almost always means more for the reader.
  6. Use active voice over passive voice. There may be occasions for using passive voice, but for the most part be active.
  7. Vary sentence structure. Don’t fall into the trap of always writing: Noun + Verb + Noun = Sentence. Even if it’s grammatically correct, using the same pattern over and over again will make your manuscript boring. Don’t feel like you have to be creative with every sentence; just check that you’re not falling into a monotonous pattern.
  8. Save each round of revisions as its own file. Start with the first draft. Then, the second draft. Then, the third draft and so on. Saving these files provides a record of your changes and shows your development of the story.
  9. Have someone read the manuscript. The more eyes the better, because they’ll be more objective when reading, and they’re less likely to make “leaps of logic” than you, the writer, might. It is always best to ask someone other than a relative, who naturally will be biased.
  10. Print the manuscript for a final edit. There are things you’ll catch on paper that you won’t on the screen.

Take your time with revision. Set it aside for a few days, a week if you have the time. Then return to the work with a fresh attitude. Save your revised version in a separate file. Be sure you have addressed all of the editor’s comments. Do not ignore them. If there are some changes that you don’t agree with, write the editor a note explaining why the revision called for will change the meaning of your work. It’s best not to take exception to more than one or two editorial changes. If you and the editor are far apart on the way the piece is written, you may wish to withdraw the work and resubmit to another publisher. That, of course, is beyond the topic at hand.

Revision is necessary to polish the work for the reader, and the reader should be foremost in your mind. If you use these revision tips, you’ll be ahead with your revision process and find the editor is not the ogre you imagined.


The Writing Process

The writing process for a book can take several years. During that time, you will write and rewrite many times. It helps to join a writing group, which can help you stay motivated and focused, encourage you and critique your work. If you can’t take criticism, you are at a distinct disadvantage from the beginning. Practice taking criticism from your critique group. DO NOT take criticism personally; they are trying to help you to get published.

Step One

Create a team of those you trust who can help shepherd you through the writing  process, whether you intend to self-publish or you dream big of getting your book picked up by one of the omnipresent Big Six publishing houses.

Step Two

Get a driving force who can throw out realistic and pertinent deadlines. Someone who is an interested third party who keeps you in line for you to attain actual progress. This is crucial so you actually can see the idea into fruition.

Step Three

Write, write, write, take a break, go for a walk or swim, or have coffee with a friend then write some more.

Step Four

Take breaks from time to time. It helps prevent writer’s block. Hint: always take a break just when you’ve decided on a distinct direction for your story. Be sure there’s enough of it down so you won’t lose track and can pick it up readily when you return. Leaving the story at the end of a chapter can cause your mind to go blank. Begin the next chapter don’t leave a blank page for your return.—Best Advice

Step Five

Breathe. Take time to walk away from your masterpiece and breath. Get a fresh perspective from a trusted adviser. Take time to vent about your long writing journey. And take time to walk away for entire days, maybe a week or two. Time when you have left your thoughts on writing to the birds. Free your mind, meditate on life and it’s beauty, but whatever you do, remember that stepping away and thinking of other things can help you re-evaluate what you are putting on each digital or physical page.

Step Six

This one is just a thought: Think about writing a chapter or two at a time, maybe not in the order they’ll appear in the final product. This is a distinct advantage of the word processor over the typewriter.

Book Promotion Checklist

1. A short book description

There are a handful of reasons you’ll need a short, compelling book description (one or two sentences at most): as a soundbite in interviews, as a teaser on your website, as the hook in your press materials and communications with folks in the publishing industry, and maybe even as the tagline in your email signature!

2. A longer book description

Once you’ve hooked ‘em with the sound-bite, they’ll want to read more. Give them another paragraph or two to really sell the book. But don’t get long-winded or you risk losing their interest.

3. Your author bio

So, what’s your story? It’s time to tell the world — in the 3rd person. 2 – 4 paragraphs should be plenty if you tell your story well. If not… well, 2-4 paragraphs might be painful.

4. Web content

Start putting together all the web content you’ll need well in advance of your release.

This includes some of the things mentioned above (bio and book descriptions), but also blog posts announcing the book launch, behind-the-scenes content that gives your readers a glimpse into your writing process for the book, any study-guides or accompanying material that you’ve envisioned for readers, your book trailer, links to retail sites where your book and eBook can be purchased, etc.

5. A good author photo  

In fact, try to get a few good shots. A headshot, a casual shot, one with lots of space or landscape that you can use as a wide header image for Facebook and/or your website.

6. Hi-resolution .jpg of your book cover 

Ask your designer for a hi-resolution .jpg file of your book cover. You’ll need to both display it and make it available to download on your website (for any bloggers, media folks, or book critics who write about your book).

7. Banners/ads

While you’re talking to your designer, and while your book design is fresh in their mind, ask them to put together any banners, headers, or print ads you think you’ll need in the first 3 months after your book is released. You’re going to be very busy at that point, and you don’t want to have to wait for your designer’s schedule to clear up when you’re in the thick of things.

8. Business cards

They’re old-fashioned. But if you attend writers conferences, they’ll come in handy. We’re talking about writers, after all.

9. Signage 

If you plan on doing signings, readings, or getting a booth at a book fair, you’ll want to invest in some eye-catching, portable signage. It could be a pull-up banner (for big shows) or as simple as an 8×11 laminated sign, but make sure you’ve ordered it long before the event.

10. Press materials

Your press materials (press kit, press release, etc.) will be comprised of some of the things already mentioned: bio, description of the book, plus some of the story behind the book and author, contact info, any standout praise you may’ve already garnered from the press, etc.

When you’re gathering all these elements together into a press kit or press release, keep asking yourself these questions: “Why should anyone care about my story and book, and have I clearly communicated that here?”

11. Book trailer

Book trailers are important. In a world where YouTube is becoming one of the most-used search engines, it sure helps to have some video content available. Plus, book trailers are great content for your own website, for other bloggers, and to mention in your press release. Besides, it gives the impression that you’re really in tune with the times.

On Using #Hashtags

Do you even know where to start? Or what words or phrases you should be using the hashtag to increase #traffic?

  1. The number one rule to follow when using hashtags, do not overuse them ever. The rule of thumb is to use only two in relevant twitter tweets, and no more than three in blogs. We all know that Google does not like spam and if you use to many hash symbols you can be penalized for spamming both on twitter and on Google.
  2. Hashtags are used to categorize relevant words in tweets and posts. All you have to do is put the hash symbol # before the word with no spaces.
  3. When users click on hashtagged words, he or she may find the rest of the tweet or post.
  4. When users search for a hashtagged word he or she will come across tweets and posts that he or she may not have come across with just a regular search.
  5. Now this is very important. Hashtagged words usually do end in the trending section of twitter. So if you want your post to go viral then you need to use the hash symbol before those words that are most likely to be searched for in the search box.
  6. It is important that the hash be used only with relevant information.
  7. If you want to gain more followers and improve your reputation then you had better get used to using the hash symbol on each and every relevant post or tweet.
  8. All relevant phrases should be short. It is best to just hashtag one word as opposed to a whole phrase. Users searching are more likely to be searching for the hashtagged word.
  9. Always try to use relevant hashtagged words. You can do a quick search for words that have been tagged with If you notice that there are relevant words and conversations that come up, you may want to use a word to tag similar to the one used.
  10. Be careful of how you use hashtags. Make sure you are not offending anyone and not making erroneous mistakes online. Twitter will not tolerate any hashtag abuse. Here are the rules about using hashtags from twitter. You can find this at