Ruth Harris has a good post over at Anne R. Allen's blog on ways to improve your writing. Allen liked point #8, and I do, too:
8. Don't repeat yourself. Once is enough. This is a fairly common problem and not always quick or easy to fix because it involves actual thinking. Be on the lookout for places where you convey the same thought two or three times in different words. Usually, this kind of repetition means the writer hasn’t quite thought through what he/she is trying to say.
This has been on my mind a lot lately because I have little shorthand ways of describing my characters, but I'm thinking by book #3, I need to freshen that up and come at those descriptions from a different angle. In some ways, this falls under the category of Things That Are Different To Read Than To Write: A good deal of time may have passed for me between writing Trang and writing Trials, but for anyone who picks up the first book, likes it, and starts to plow through the other two--well, they're really, REALLY going to notice if I'm essentially cutting-n-pasting those character descriptions. I know this because Garrett did that on occassion in the Lord Darcy stories--I'm sure he thought it would work fine, because he wrote them over the course of several years, and it's not like they were even all originally published in the same place. But stick them all in an omnibus together, and...oops.