If there is one word that is used way to often in writing, it is the word “that”. Years ago I read an article explaining why we shouldn’t use the word “that” more than occasionally in any writing project.
So, I started looking for the word every time I edited a story. I realized I do use “that” excessively. I had never really thought about it, but I do.
I recently finished editing Seeing Things, part 5 of the #cemeteryhillseries, a part of Tales from the Mountain. During the first edit, I bet I deleted the word “that” almost two dozen times. Then, during edit number two, I still deleted the word a number of times. And during my last read-through? You geussed it… I eliminated the word three more times.
Mind you, this is just a short story. Not even a novella.
Wow. It’s a real eye-opener when you are paying attention.
Not that you will never use the word “that”. It has its place. But a lot of people, including myself, tend to use it excessively.