On a line-edit, few things bug me more than misused homophones. Redundant words are one of them.
Let me put it out there that I like repetition - when used right, the emphasis is fantastic. In dialog, it reveals a lot about a character, depending on context.
I love arguments where one person stubbornly repeats their position. Or conversation where Bob reiterates a point that Andrew just made thus revealing that he wasn't listening to Andrew in the first place.
"The line's going to be long, so we should go early."
"I don't really know what time we should show up, but the last time I went, there was a long line."
Doesn't that make you want to smack Bob and bless poor, patient Andrew for putting up with Bob?
Redundancy is different.
"He opened the hand painted door he was so proud of, and I walked into the apartment, sidling past the painted naked lady on the door, mentally promising myself to be quick, and hoping that he left the door open behind me."
Grrrrr. Sure, there are details, important details...because really? Never enter the apartment of someone who's painted a naked lady on their front door. But there's got to be a better way to say that.
I'm as guilty as the next person. It's actually pretty embarrassing. My two favorite tools for combating this are:
1) Find/Replace - I do searches on "thought that" and tell it to replace it with "thought" - It's faster than searching all the thats and looking at them one by one. "said that" "told me that" "assumed that" "grateful that" It's still a long list.
2) Beta Readers. - Some of the words I repeat are specific to one scene, betas can catch this - especially if I've done #1 already before they read it.
Lastly, if it's an action you keep repeating, say, rolling eyes, or cracking knuckles, you may want to head over to The Bookshelf Muse's Emotion Thesaurus. They have emotions listed followed by the many different ways people express them.
P.S. Congrats to Mel who won our awesome auction package and helped a great cause at the same time!
So tell us, what actions do you overuse?