And so it is Christmas….

Where did December go? First there was the monthly round-up of competitions and, then…well, not a lot, really.

Apologies for the radio silence, but Book Nanny was editing. Not that I’m complaining; I love my job, and working with talented writers is a great big Christmas present in itself.

Hildegarde's WinterdoerfchenLet’s face it, there is so much to like about Christmas, but, from a literary point of view, keep a watchful eye out for the over-frequent use of the word ‘like’ in your writing. There is no denying that it is a very useful little word and very easy to, eh… like. It pops up frequently  to describe how things feel, look or seem, and authors will often choose ‘like’ over the perhaps more formal sounding ‘as though,’ particularly in novels with a more contemporary or conversational style. ‘She felt like her whole life was over now that Judy had got that job.’ Or, ‘It looked like Jonathan wouldn’t be going anywhere fast.’

And don’t forget its integral role in similes. ‘His coat flapped about his lanky frame like a tattered flag on a flagpole.’ ‘The jewels on her midnight blue dress twinkled like bright stars in a night sky.’  ‘He cowered in the corner like a whipped dog’.

Repeated three or four times in quick succession – familiarity will quickly breed contempt. If the only thing that stands out in your prose is the repetition of the word ‘like’, even the most original and beautiful comparisons can begin to sound a little hackneyed. As my Nanna used to say `A little goes a long way’. But then she also used to say ‘A little of what you fancy does you good.’ And I would tend to agree with her!

Happy Christmas!

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7 thoughts on “And so it is Christmas….

  1. Pingback: Shall I compare thee….? Similes and Metaphors | Book Nanny

  2. Repetition in general needs to be watched like a hawk. But when you’re reading over your own work, it is amazing how often you just don’t notice what an editor will cop on to like a flash.

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