The Insecure Writer’s Support Group
This month I thought I’d lighten up. The days are getting warmer. The daffs are breaking ground along with crocus and tulips. Spring is going to be here soon. So let’s shove aside our insecurities for a day.
I have a confession to make.
Once upon a time I had an editor who highlighted every occurrence of the word “that” in every manuscript I contracted with that publisher. I’m sure she had editing software do this because…well, I won’t be bitchy. Let’s just say she had a few quirks.
I know all about the word “that.” I agree it gets overused. What I do not agree with is any editor insisting it come out of character dialogue. I don’t agree with an editor changing character dialogue as a general rule, period. My rule is “my characters talk my way.”
Anyway, after about twenty-five manuscripts, I got well and truly
fucking tired of her software doing the editing for her. I was looking
for a name for a character and that’s when I found it. THATCHER. Oh, my God.
T-h-a-t-cher. Thatcher. Naturally, his love interest continually called him by
his last name. Thatcher.
When the edit came to me, not one instance of the word “that” was flagged with a yellow highlight.
And THAT, boys and girls, is how to break your editor of a bad habit.