The Return of Captain Obvious

Captain Obvious stopped by again this last weekend. In his honor, (and because I’m tired and can’t think of a new post idea) I’m re-running the original Captain Obvious post from the end of December.

I just spent the entire weekend having long, contentious arguments with Captain Obvious.

Who is Captain Obvious?

Well, it’s simple really.

Captain Obvious stops by for a visit every time I read a sentence, paragraph, or, regrettably, sometimes even a page, where I’ve told my reader repeat, or unnecessary information that doesn’t move the storyline along.

 Here’s a snippet of a recent conversation…

“Hey!” yelled Captain Obvious. “You’ve told them that already!”

“But, no, you don’t understand,” my stammering protests fill the air. “These words—they’re so beautiful, so brilliant; I simply can’t bear to send them away.”  

“Loser!” Captain Obvious charged forward with the harsh truth, completely oblivious to my tender fragility. “There’s only so many times you have to tell the reader that people on the Oregon Trail who don’t have water ARE THIRSTY, AND LOOK FOR IT A LOT!”

Regrettably, Captain Obvious is usually right.

Highlight. Delete. Move on.


4 thoughts on “The Return of Captain Obvious

  1. You just hit one of my “alert” buttons when I edit. I am so hard-headed that I had to create a glossary of “over used, abused and repetitive” words and or phrases. I go on a search and destroy mission for unnecessary adjectives, erradicate all cliches and still at the end of the day …

    I can’t spell.

    Thanks to my Captain Obvious … my loyal beta reader friend … I have someone who finds all my spelling errors.

    The rest of the dirty job is mine and if I don’t want my Captain Obvious to hit me in the head with a brick … I always to my clean up first.

    Great post to begin our week.

  2. Florence,
    I wonder what some of the words in your glossary are? Mine are “was” and “to” and the horrible exclamation point.


  3. This made me laugh! It reminds me of one of my husband’s theology professors who once told his class that there are three parts to a sermon: first you tell them what you’re going to say, then you say it, then you tell them what you said. I don’t think he follows that advice too closely!

    My overused words include “such”, “really” and “very”, and dialogue that begins with “Well,…” I’m shocked at how often they turn up in a draft. Thank goodness for the Delete key and for beta readers who catch what I miss!

  4. Carol,

    Since my novel follows the Oregon Trail from begining to end I found I’ve run out of ways to show the passage of time. “Moments later, after, and then” tend to be my big ones.


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