Overuse of the same word or phrase is an insidious aspect to writing that everybody has to watch out for. I once read a novel where the author was just in love with the word scintillating. Everything, and I mean everything, from the main character’s hair to the macaroni and cheese on his supper plate was scintillating. One of my own redundancies is to describe the landscape around the Niobrara and Missouri river as rough country.
(Above – Chief Standing Bear Memorial Bridge spans the Missouri River, connecting Nebraska and South Dakota.)
When I was a kid growing up near the Devils Nest and visiting the Niobrara area frequently, we called it God’s Country. The corkscrew trails and surprisingly deep valleys were a different geography from the Nebraska land we farmed, less than ten miles south. It really is rough country.
(Above – The city of Niobrara from the South Dakota side.)
But there’s a frontier beauty still evident here. Surrounded by farms and ranches and the industry of two rivers, the land still breathes. Under the tall grass, a wild heart still beats. In fiction, I’m careful of repeating the same descriptors for the Niobrara river valley. I try to change it up –for a landscape unchanging.