October 5, 2010

That Thing I Do

Do you know that I love the word that? In fact, I love the word that so much that I use it in every possible situation that presents itself to use that. That’s right!

Thanks to great feedback from a friend who read my work in progress, I discovered my overuse of the word that. In fact, without her feedback, I would have written the last sentence to say: I now know that I love the word that.

Thanks to the Find feature in Word, I resolved to correct this problem. After two hours, I was up to page fifty! Two hours later, I had made it all the way to page eighty.  Woohoo!

What? How long was this going to take?

Like any good writer, I still had a copy of my original file, so I opened it and ran a Find All. It counted 1241 occurrences!

Yep. That’s right.

One thousand ...

Two hundred ...

AND Forty-one ...

Do the math. If I spent an average of sixty seconds on each occurrence, trying to decide whether to delete, edit or change the word, it would take me twenty hours.

Luckily for me, it only took me twelve hours. Ouch!

Now, my novel has a lot fewer occurrences of “that.”

And that’s the truth.

At least, I know what word to watch for. Do you?

PS Thanks Valerie!

3 comments:

Valerie Norris said...

THAT's okay, Barbara. I know THAT you love me anyway, and THAT's a good thing!

Bob Strother said...

An editor friend of mine has finally ingrained the practice of being extremely judicious in using "that." Now, if I could just get the comma thing right...

Susan M. Boyer said...

Ha! I SO feel your pain. I've given a few pieces "that-ectomies." I'm SO cautious of using THAT now I probably leave it out when I should use it. :) I used to have a "just" addition as well.