Self-editing Tip – Avoid Redundancies by Dawn Kinzer

Dawn Kinzer will be conducting a roundtable at NCWA’s Renewal Conference. See end of post for details.


Dawn Kinzer headshot- smallAs writers, we may yearn to offer work that comforts, challenges, and inspires. We may desire readers to laugh . . . or even cry. Perhaps our goal is to teach, take people on an adventure, or help them dream. When we feel passionate about the article, story, or book we’ve written, we want to provide the best reading experience possible.

We may also hope to garner the attention of an agent or publisher. But that initial draft is only a start. What follows is the editing process.

Of course, it’s important to check for correct grammar, spelling, and word usage. But if you want the work to shine, they’re not the only things to look for while editing.

 Here’s a tip. Look for redundancy in words and content.


 Kelsie walked to the department store because she needed to shop for clothes. But she also needed some blush, so she first walked to the makeup counter and purchased some blush. Then instead of taking the escalator, she walked up the stairs to the second floor. After walking around that floor, she tried on some clothes and then decided to purchase several pieces of designer clothing.

That silly paragraph is a little exaggerated. But you get the idea. As a freelance editor, I frequently see repeated words in the same sentence, paragraph, and page in manuscripts I edit. The writing starts to feel redundant and doesn’t make for exciting reading. It can be challenging at times to find alternatives, but most of the time, it’s possible. For instance, the following words can be used for walk: stroll, saunter, meander, amble, march, pace, stagger, and hike.


Besides the familiar Thesaurus and Synonym Finder, there are other great books and online sites that give options for replacing bland words.


  1. The Emotion Thesaurus by Anglea Ackerman and Becca Puglishi
  2. The Flip Dictionary by Barbara Ann Kipfer, Ph.D
  3. Roget’s Super Thesaurus by Marc McCutcheon


  1.  The Emotion Thesaurus (It includes physical attributes, character traits, weather, color, textures, shapes, and settings.)
  2.  Word Hippo
  3. 1000 Verbs to Write By

You can learn more by attending my Editing 101 roundtable discussion at the upcoming NCWA Writers Renewal Conference. We’ll be sharing self-editing tips, tools, and resources that will help you correct, tighten, and breathe more life into your written work.


Dawn Kinzer is a freelance editor with experience editing both fiction and nonfiction. Her own work has been published in the Christian Fiction Online Magazine, the Backyard Friends magazine, The One Year Life Verse Devotional (Tyndale), A Joyful Heart: Experiencing the Light of God’s Love (Guideposts), and featured on the radio ministry program, The Heartbeat of the Home. She also co-hosts Seriously Write, a blog for Christian writers. Learn more by visiting Faithfully Write Editing and her author site. Dawn has been a member of NCWA since January.


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