Wednesday, March 2, 2016

IWSG- Confession is Good for the Soul - and a Laugh

March 2, 2016

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.

KC Kendricks


Christiane France - Author said...

Love it! When I started writing I learned that every character should have his own voice. Okay characters who start every sentence with "Basically" drive me nuts. But we all have words we overuse--fine, okay, sure, and most certainly we all say "that" and probably a whole lot more than we realize.


KC Kendricks said...

I couldn't help myself when I did THAT to the editor. It was like I'd been body-snatched and my evil twin had control. Strange how I really don't feel guilty about it.

When two characters are talking about the fence post, think of how annoying it would be to read "fence post" twelve times. In speech, a person will say, "Straighten THAT up" when talking about the object. For an editor to flag THAT instance of THAT is silly.