I love THAT

that

For the past few months, I’ve been engaged in the writerly task of editing four books. I do this full-time for about 14 hours a day, divvying the tasks up into four categories: 1) borderline boring, 2) terribly tedious, 3) downright dreary, and 4) mega mind-numbing. That way I can mix them up for a little variety.

One of the editing passes that I undertake is the arduous process of “enlivening my words.” I use the search function on Word to look up dull words and one by one swap them out for more interesting ones. At the tippity-top of the humdrum list is “was.” An exceedingly handy verb but not a writer’s best friend. I allow myself an average of one “wuz” per page. This means looking up about 600 wuzzes and switching 300 of them out. For 4 books, I’ll comb through approximately 2,400 wuzzes.  Ack!

I have 33 wimpy, weak, crutch words that I put through this process, none as dreadful as “was” though “had” ranks right up there in second place. It takes forever.

I’ve completed all my swaps except for the last – Word #33: THAT.

For some reason that I can’t explain, I just love that word. I could write that word in every sentence that I write. And that’s a problem. Plus that’s a word that’s hard to replace without completely changing the way that a sentence is written. I know that other writers can figure that out without that much trouble, but that’s easier said than done. For me, that’s an editing step that takes tons of time that I could use to make other changes that would improve my work.

Good Grief. Ha ha.

Okay, I gotta cut this out so I can cut that out. Wish me luck – only about 3,000 to go.

198 thoughts on “I love THAT

  1. I can certainly relate – I find that I also have words that I use all the time and I also ummmm! a lot when I speak (eeek!).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dweezer19 says:

    Well that’s that then. Oh we gotta stop! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dweezer19 says:

    You made me smile. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. dweezer19 says:

    Haha! Good luck with ‘that’.😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Aaaahhh these words that we use but shouldn’t. My bug bear is “really” 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Arduous task. I can’t say ‘that’ I envy you. Just curious, what are some of your typical replacements for the ‘wuz’ word?
    And, how much contact do you have with the author about these swaps?

    Liked by 1 person

    • These are on my own books, so I’m battling with myself 🙂 One of the easiest ways to get rid of “was” is to change:
      “was standing” to “stood”
      “was laughing” to “laughed” (Etc.)
      Getting rid of passive language helps too. Then, it’s just a matter of slogging through. Definitely avoid swapping “was” out for seemed and appeared (wimpy words in most applications when it’s better to take a stand). Happy Writing!

      Like

  7. I fully understand. “That” is a word thoroughly scattered throughout my writing also. Just remember the joke that goes, “Be a writer they said. It’ll be fun they said.” 😀 — Suzanne

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I so feel you. Look, nod, and smile are my most besetting writerly sins.

    And line edits can seem like a Sisyphean task. I’m in the same place with novels. I’ve got six that I want to take one last pass on to check if my description is truly as good as I can make it.

    Then I’m done. I swear.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sacha Black says:

    Now THAT gave me a right laugh. I have SO many crutch words and phrases, and being balls deep in the midst of two edits I am feeling your pain, SIGH.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh too funny! It’s like a child showing defiance!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Don’t you just hate THAT! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Good luck. I love to hate editing. I love the result but hate the task. I’m going to try your technique and get w of the boring stuff. I’ve just cut about 100 cases of nodding from my latest. These poor characters heads are going to roll off.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. That is an hysterical post. Well, I cringed through most of it, relating on every wuzz, had, and …. that. But THAT is better than WHICH, which reminds me, I better go back to editing my book. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. dgkaye says:

    Loved this post Diana. You make the word ‘that’ so interesting, lol. Perhaps you should leave a few more of them in? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Aquileana says:

    Yours is a very clever method to edit! 😉
    You are quite right as to THAT…. To change it for a different word you should probably change the whole sentence, but it is difficult to do so as what follows “that” is a subordinate (i.e secondary) clause. Well it happens most times.
    Anyway… wishing you best of luck with the edition process!….
    Best wishes. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right that it usually can’t be swapped out, Aquileana. I can eliminate it sometimes or reword the sentence. I tend to cut about 1/3 of them, but I have to read every one to do it! Ha ha. Thanks for reading. Have a great week 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Steph McCoy says:

    It’s a good thing you mix up the tasks to liven things up a tad. Now I’m imagining how much more tedious this would be without a computer – yikes! 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tried to write a book just after finishing college, Steph. On A Typewriter! (Home computers didn’t exist yet). Talk about labor intensive. I love my laptop. Ha ha. Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Steph McCoy says:

        I remember trying to use a typewriter before the IBM Selectrics came out and I just didn’t have the knack for typing back then so I can’t begin to imagine writing a book one. I love today’s keyboards, they make life such joy.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. “That way I can mix them up for a little variety.” 😄 Sounds delightful.

    I have an issue with “that”. I always reread and get rid of as many of those as possible and the sentence usually still makes sense. And is cleaner. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Purpleanais says:

    I sure don’t envy you. I’m that bad I don’t even edit my blog posts (hardly ever) and it’s pathetically lazy of me because of course editing makes everything read ten times better. Good luck if you’re still at it and I love “that” also — couldn’t be without it 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hahaha so it is the 19th here right now. How did ‘it’ go? Sounds tiresome!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. ~M says:

    Oh I love That word too! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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