Wednesday, March 8, 2017

For THAT Matter

I'm at the point in editing where I'm scouring the manuscript for crutch words (overused common words authors sometimes throw down when they're too busy or too lazy to find better words). 

The first thing I do when I start looking for crutch words is make a list of words my editor has pointed out* (know/knew, wonder, took, still, just, 'by the time') and words I know for a fact I rely on too heavily during early drafts (said, thought, even, like, that).  Then I have Word count each of those so I know what I'm up against. 

This time, for some reason, the word THAT was in a 239 page manuscript 568 times.  WTF?  (And the count came after I'd already deleted a few.)  Which equals 2 and a third times per page.  AND I only counted instances of 'that' with a space after it, leaving out 'that's' and 'that.' and probably others. 

I discovered this THAT explosion about 6 last night.  I stopped work for the day at 8:30 (to go to bed) and I wasn't finished killing all the THAT.  Two and a half hours of finding and then deleting or rewording. There were like 12 on ONE PAGE.  (In my defense, it was during a conversation wherein one character dropped a lot of THATs in their dialogue.) 

Anyway, I probably have another hour left of THAT.  (You know, after I throw in the variations, I still have like 300 left.  Shoot me now.)


Not sure exactly how all of THAT ended up in the manuscript this time around.  It's usually way less.  :shrug:  I'll fix it.  I'll fix all of it.  But I probably won't have this back to the editor this morning, that's for damn sure. 

Well, I should get back at it.  I have some life things that need doing this morning before my Wednesday Mom call at 8.  I'll most likely be a raving lunatic by the time I send this up to the editor, but it will be done today.  You can bank on that. 


*She doesn't point out all the words she knows I know are a problem. She just says 'scour for crutch words' and then gives a few examples she noticed in the manuscript.  Not sure why she didn't pick on me mightily for THAT.  Probably being kind.  Or probably keeping herself from poking me in the eye with a pointy stick over something I should know better.


  1. Interestingly, 'that' never jumped out at me???? 'That' I missed the plethora has me worried! Obviously, I was not bothered by 'that', but perhaps 'that' had best be on my radar for 'that' next round??? And I would never poke you in the eye with a sharp stick...'that's' a promise :)

  2. Y'all are so cute together. ;) LOLOL

    My crutch phrase in Kade's book (the one I just did the panicked must-be-done-NOW edits on) was: at the moment. My editor missed it. The copyeditor missed it. But by the time I was through the line edits, it was a big ol' glaring neon sign! Surprisingly, I'll sometimes delete "that" and Mr. Ed puts it back in. *shrug*

    Y'all got this. Carry on. :D

  3. I have one character who loves 'that' (that man's gonna...). That's fine, it's part of her speech pattern. But now I need to go back through and make sure nobody else abuses 'that'.

  4. I have a permanent list of the words I abuse, which comes in handy when I go through my document during the pre-edit phase. "Apparently" and "of course" are at the top of this list.

    Also, you should be able to click on a box when you search for words so that it says find "whole words only." It'll find those with punctuation after them (but not necessarily "that's").