Saturday, August 11, 2012

There It Is Again!

THIS IS A TEST!  Don't say I didn't warn you. What follows may sound like meaningless chitchat, but don't be fooled. There's a purpose behind it, so soldier on and read to the end. Okay? Okay.

First of all, let me say that I've been very busy lately so I haven't been blogging with the kind of regularity that I'd hoped to achieve. On the other hand, I did call this A Non-blogger's Blog for good reason. By now it's obvious that I'm not a disciplined blogger. I add blogs on a hit-or-miss basis as time allows.
Last week I was away for five days, visiting my family in the Milwaukee area. While I was there, I did a little multi-tasking by donating copies of my novel to several librarians that wanted a copy for separate libraries in three nearby towns.

All right! Enough already! 

At this point, I'm willing to bet you're scratching your head, wondering what point I'm trying to make. Here it is. Lately I've noticed a prevalent, four-letter word creeping into a lot of writing where it doesn't belong. That word is "that"! (Yes, I meant for the last sentence to be ironic.) It often goes unnoticed, much like poison ivy when you pull down your pants in the woods to... Well, never mind; you get the idea.

The word "that" certainly has its place, but it's not to be peppered around willy-nilly. Check out the second paragraph again. This time leave out each "that". Didn't miss a single one of them, did you? Used as they were, each was nothing but a pointless, extra word. It seems they like to crop up everywhere. Did you notice them on your own? Check your writing for those sneaky, little critters and boot them out; they won't be missed. And, like Scrooge McDuck, you'll be pleased to find you even save a little ink.

One last thing. Find "that" in the third paragraph. Something is definitely needed there, but it's not "that". When referring to humans, use "who". It's an easy rule to remember.

"That" definitely serves a purpose, many in fact. My Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary even dedicated a five full inches of space explaining its uses. So, when it's needed, use it. When it isn't, don't. It's easy to tell the difference.

And that, as they say, is that!

Feel free to comment! If you want to target some other overlooked issues, grab a comment box and have at it!


  1. Hah! Just had my novel refproofed by an expert and guess which word she beat up on me about? You guessed it--THAT! I was a THAT addict.

    Nice post, good reminder to leave out extrania!

  2. Hi Marla,

    Thanks for dropping by and commenting. "That" is definitely one of those sneaky little words most of us use without a second thought ... myself included. Weeding out those we need from those we don't takes some practice. Once we're aware of it, at least we can break the habit!

  3. I've just finished "Dear Crossing," and I really enjoyed it. I see indications [that] you're working on the third in the series, but I've found nothing about the second. Has it been published? You've no idea how refreshing it is to find an author publishing in e-book format who not only has a clever, interesting story to tell, but has the language skills to tell it well. Thank you! I'm eager to read more about Ray Schiller.

    1. I sincerely apologize, Elizabeth. It's apparent I haven't been back here for way too long. Thanks so much for your wonderful comments! Talk about delayed gratification! LOL You've made my day ... my week even!

      I do have three novels written in the Ray Schiller series, but haven't published them yet. I'm working very hard on editing Shadow Tag, the second story, and hope to have it published this winter. Ray is still struggling with all I'm putting him through ... the poor man. You'll want to be in on that; he could use a cheering section.

      Thanks again, Elizabeth. My apologies once more.

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