Repeated lines

From a 1997 novel:

She puts away her notebook.

[10 sentences elided here—about half a page. No mention of her notebook anywhere in here.]

[Character name] puts away her notebook.

[Yes, I understand that it would be possible to construct a rationale for why this made sense or was a clever hint toward something or whatever. In this particular case, it’s none of those things; it’s just an error.]

I mention this because I’ve been seeing this kind of accidental repetition a lot lately, in work published in 2017, and it’s a good reminder to me that it’s not a new phenomenon.

It’s the sort of thing that it’s very easy for an author to miss. So, fellow editors, I make this appeal to you: Please keep an eye out for it. (Also for the related problem where an author contradicts something they wrote a few paragraphs earlier.)

Also, those of you who are beta readers and pre-publication reviewers and such: when you see such issues, please report them to the author or the publisher, as appropriate.

They’re minor issues, but they make a work feel sloppy to me, especially when this kind of repetition happens multiple times in the same work.

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