II. Creative Techniques for Using Words, Phrases, Sentences and Paragraphs

1. Avoiding Redundancy Within a Story
This topic is designed to help authors recognize and eliminate words, phrases, sentences or paragraphs that are not necessary, because the reader can figure out the author’s message without them. It also applies to an idea that has already been clearly expressed to the reader by the author, when expressing it again is not necessary (that is, it is redundant). Example of redundancy: Many middle school authors overuse the words “then” or “next” when they are describing a series of events that occur sequentially (that is, one after the other). After describing the first event in a series of events, they think they have to begin every sentence that describes all the events that follow the first event with the words “then” or “next.” It is not necessary to use “then” or “next” if the author makes it obvious to the reader that these are a series of events happening sequentially, or when the author numbers the events in the order in which they occur (for example, the steps in a recipe). The reader understands that the events are in sequence and does not need to be reminded of this with the words “then” or “next.”


In the following examples, there are redundant words, phrases and sentences. Draw a line through any word, phrase or sentence you think is redundant. Also, if you think a word, phrase or sentence needs to be added to make the meaning clearer, then give it a number, write it in the space provided below or on a separate piece of paper, and place that same number in the text where you think it should be inserted.

Exercise 1.1“Maggi, come on good girl, wake up, come on, you have got to wake up!” Molly said. It was 8:00 in the morning and Molly was trying to wake up Maggi, her dog.

Exercise 1.2 “I have to call this lady and tell her that I found her dog and she can come and pick her up.” Molly said, as she turned and walked slowly toward the phone. RING RING RING! rang the phone in Maggi’s owner’s house. “Good Morning. Carrie Lendwood speaking,” said the lady on the other end of the phone.


2. Alliteration:
Using the same letter to begin two or more words (or even every word) in a phrase or sentence. Alliteration adds a rhythmic effect to the phrase or sentence.
2.1 There were boys banging bats against broken boards.
2.2 From her bedroom came the sound of wonderful, wild, wacky laughter.
2.3 Tom threw tomatoes at the third graders teasing him.

Exercise 2.1 Create two sentences that each contain an example of alliteration.