Many Happy Returns

In school, you were probably taught, as I was, to avoid simple verbal repetition—using "however" or "interesting" too often in a single paragraph.

That's not what I'm talking about.

The kinds of repetition that work in fiction, that make buried but not-quite-hidden connections that can hold a story together, aren't a matter of single words. They're part of a writer's larger vocabulary: image, incident, situation, character. Narrative structure. Plot in the largest sense—notjust what happens, but precisely how the incidents are presented and the patterns they make.

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