Sloppy Writing 101.03:That is my problem, not yours.
I want to tell you about something that I’ve been doing much too often. Let’s see if you can figure out what that is. Here are four examples that I pulled from the first page of Frosty.
…because we all know that starting a new school as a senior halfway through the year will be hell.
Did the caseworker think that Brooke and I would become close friends and that my senior year would be the best ever?
I figured that they threw a bunch of names in a hat and sent me to the first one they pulled.
So if you didn’t figure it out, the problem is THAT. I overuse THAT so much it’s embarrassing. There are two issues. The first is using it correctly as in that vs. which vs. who. I won’t go into a description of how to choose what’s right, so go to Grammar Girl if you don’t know.
Luckily, most of the time I got that versus which right. I say most, not all. And really, it was luck. Now I know exactly what the difference is and when to use which instead of that.
My problem was that I have so many completely unnecessary THATs. You can bet that I was slightly stunned when I went through my When the Mist Clears ms in January (after I figured out my problem) and found over eight hundred THATs. Wow—way too many. I have cut it down to three hundred something. Yes, I got rid of 500 THATs in one ms. And I’ll probably go through one more time.
This is definitely one thing that I’ll watch out for when I’m writing because I spent three hours (yes, 3 hours), finding all my unnecessary/wrong THATs.
So watch out for your THATs.
And did you catch all the unnecessary ones in this post? It might be a hard habit to break.