Writers need to watch out for echoes — a duplication of words, phrases, effects, details, scenes that reverberate in readers’ minds and dilute the work. As an example: originally I’d written the first sentence of this blog as “Writers need to watch out for echoes — a duplication of words, phrases, effects, details that echo in readers’ minds and dilute the work,” but the second “echo” echoed the first and diluted the effect of both, so I changed the second “echo” to “reverberate.” In the same way, if you have two scenes that make the same point without adding anything new, then the scene is not only redundant, but echoes in readers’ minds, and makes them feel as if the story is going nowhere.
Sometimes, however, an echo can be used to good effect in writing, such as when you’re trying to play on a theme, but it’s especially effective in photography. A roof can be an interesting subject for an image, but showing the roof against an analogous background — peaks against peaks — can strengthen the image rather than dilute it.
There is no shortage of peaks around here — roof peaks, mountain peaks, hill peaks — and I was able to find shots of peaks perfectly echoed against peaks to illustrate my point.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.