Not much if—as writers—we use it so frequently that it detracts from the storyline. It’s like overusing the comma, dash, hyphen, or “he said” and “she said”. Overuse of anything lends itself to tedium.
There are many great storylines out there, but they get lost through repetition. If readers find a multitude of references to good ol’ Roger on one page, they may not be tempted to read through to the end. That’s not only a loss for the writer, it’s a downright shame.
Yes, editors help—it depends on the type of editing as much as it does on the editor. He/she may comment on the redundancy, but not change it or offer examples of how to approach the story with a fresh(er)/crisp(er) slant.
“Hi there,” Ron said with a smile and placed down the coffee cup onto the table in front of the window by the door in the small room.
Julie said nothing. She simply turned to Ron and stared into Ron’s grass-green eyes.
Ron noticed rue of some kind in Julie’s baby-blue eyes. “What’s wrong?” Ron asked, his voice filled with genuine concern. Ron walked across the room to stand before Julie’s chair and hold her hand, but Julie yanked back her hand.
Mistrust was now reflected in Julie’s eyes. Julie stood up and walked to the far corner of the small room, away from the window. Ron smiled dissarmingly, hoping Julie would feel less threatened.
Julie sat down in the other chair in the corner of the small room and Ron walked over to sit on the rug before Julie.
Rather long, given the action, and repetitive. If we had a dollar for each time we read Ron or Julie’s name, we’d have a nice fat wallet. Maybe something exciting, frightening, or romantic is about to occur. But given the repetition, are we that eager to find out? If there are 20+ mentions of Ron and 24+ references to Julie on one page, would you be tempted to read on for very much longer? It suggests lack of professionalism and/or care on the writer’s part.
Maybe we can shorten it and make it less tiresome to get through?
“Hi there,” Ron smiled, placing the coffee cup on the table by the window near the door in the small room.
Julie said nothing, simply turned to him and stared into his grass-green eyes.
He noticed rue in those baby-blue eyes. “What’s wrong?” he asked as he walked over to her chair, his voice filled with genuine concern.
When he took her hand, she yanked it back.
Mistrust clouded Julie’s eyes and she stood up and walked to the far corner, taking a seat on the only other chair.
Ron smiled disarmingly, and walked over to sit on the rug before her.
A little better, but still needs work. How about we rearrange a bit more and add the odd adjective or adverb to give it more pizzazz? And what genre might this be, so we rearrange/add accordingly? Suspense perhaps?
“Hi there,” Ron smiled blithely as he entered the small dimly-lit room, placing the porcelain coffee cup on the table by the narrow window. Seeing a large hairy spider scurrying across the top, he slammed his palm on it.
Julie said nothing, simply turned to him, her face expressionless, and stared into his grass-green eyes.
Rue was reflected in those lovely baby-blue orbs. “What’s wrong?” he asked worriedly as he walked over, his voice filled with concern. Crouching, he took her slim hand in his.
Feeling the remnants of the crushed spider, Julie yanked hers back, mistrust clouding her eyes. She lurched to her feet and stomped to the far corner and sat in the only other chair.
Ron sighed softly, wondering how he might win over this troubled young woman who’d murdered easily and often. Smiling disarmingly, and donning an expression of humility, he walked over and sat on the threadbare rug before her.
Writing takes practice. So does proofreading and editing. And there’s nothing wrong with writing a story or book without looking back while doing so. But do make sure to revisit it—with a critical eye, not a writer’s ego.
There’s no quality in quantity when the same names (words and phrases) are used in [over]abundance. But there is quality in quantity when a number of revisions are made—to make a story the best that it can be.