Friday, February 10, 2006

The Value of That...

So, in between bouts of working overtime, I've been working on editing the first 3 chapters of my wip. Why? You ask...

Because a very nice gentleman with much experience who is in my rwa chapter has asked me to allow him to read them so he may give me some input on what my next step in my writing journey is. He's a great guy and writer with mucho experienco and he's working on helping me prep for nationals. (The registration and room is set! Yippee!)

So, he read the first chapter of Setting Her Sights which is currently in a slush pile in Toronto. He wanted to get a feel for my writing. So, he pointed out the biggest mistakes he saw me making, a few unintentional head hops... Didn't even realize a person couldn't see themselves smile, but rather had to put intent into it, :-) AND I have a proclivity to use THAT. Even though I know that you shouldn't use the word "that" that much because editors aren't really fond of that.

So, I was reading my first 3 chapters of my wip. Which means it's my rough draft and found that I used "that" all of over that place!! Argh! It's almost as though I am back in high school and saying the word "like" all the time. Do you remembering doing that? I would say, "I thought that like it was really silly to do that..." I wasn't a valley girl or anything. The word "like" just simply seemed to fit everywhere. So sue me.

I grew out of THAT habit though. Then I took public speaking in college and found I use "Um..." as regularly as... crap I can't even think of a good metaphor. Double argh! Anyway, you get the point.

So, I am going to do what I did with the "Ums..." I am going to make a concerted effort to boot "that" from my life. I actually understand why editors think "that" is a completely useless word. For the most part, when I see it in my ms, I can delete it and just as if you look back at all the instances it is used in this post, the only difference it makes is that my sentence is shorter and more direct and to the point. If it can't be just deleted, the space is better filled with a more active and descriptive word.

Am I the only one with that problems?

And since you suffered through my overuse and misuse of the word that, here's a treat. It's sort of a picture of my inspiration for the hero of Setting Her Sights. I say "sort of" because I actually found the pic after writing the story, but it fit he hero and it looks like it is taken right out of one of the scenes. Enjoy!



Nicole Reising said...

Girl - you know I use that too much! :-)

Any other tid bits this 'mucho experienco' dude has --- pass it on! :-) (Couldn't resist using another over used word - dude) :-)

Good Post April!


April said...

LOL, Cole... I've heard the rule over and over and over. It's just something I've been focusing on. no more thats!!!

MaryF said...

THAT is definitely a problem for me, too!

Emma Sinclair said...

My last round of edits for a short story (short story, 20 pages) I had to delete over 100 thats.

That's (hee hee) 5 per page.