Repeated Irritation

Every author has pet peeves; most readers have them, too.  There are certain words that are often used incorrectly (weary vs. wary, for example) and some words that aren’t really words (orientate, anyone?) that drive me crazy.  Some things that irritate others, like starting sentences with “but”, don’t particularly bother me; I have been known to use them occasionally when they feel appropriate in my writing. 

One that especially annoys me is repeated words in adjacent sentences, or even worse in the same sentence.  There is a sign on the inside of the bathroom door at work that says “please leave the door open when you leave.”  I have spent many minutes trying to find a better way to say it so there is only one “leave” on the sign, but I have yet to find a good replacement word.  One of my new favorite songs has the line, “add some gold and silver for some pizza place class” and I always leave out one of the “somes” whenever I sing along.

This particular irritant is often very difficult to avoid, particularly when writing a scene without character names.  There are a few moments in my novel when I want to set a scene but keep the identities of the players a secret; I end up using “she” and “her” a lot, or a single descriptor like “the soldier” repeatedly.  It annoys me, but it is hard to find another way.

What are your pet peeves as a reader?