How often have you paused, pen in hand, fingers over keyboard, trying to think of an alternative word to avoid a repetition? How often have you looked over a piece of work and realised that you’ve used the same word several times in one paragraph? Or worse, had it pointed out to you at your writing group?
On the news this week I heard a reporter refer to someone ‘traversing’ a road. Traversing? Whatever happened to ‘crossing’? Traversing implies a journey, possibly hazardous, negotiating the Yukon or the Andes, not a suburban road. Maybe he was taking the lunchtime traffic into account.
Still, it got me thinking about our use of language in creative writing and how selecting that inelegant synonym to avoid repetition, doesn’t always work.