One of my writers asked me the following about the edits for her manuscript:
I love the edits suggested for HS (working title). I think many/most of the suggestions for HW (working title) are good also, but there are some minor things that concern me.
The editor has added a few 'that' s, 'to be's , and 'was's to the manuscript. Words I've been told to avoid unless necessary. I'm reading from various sources that writers and publishers are becoming especially disenchanted with 'that'. How do you feel about it?
My answer to this specific author:
I totally understand that your first novel you want it to be perfect! I would look at the edits closely and decide if the word "that" if taken out, would be confusing. Really what editors mean is if you have one of those words "that", "to be" and "was" are within the sentence you should rewrite the sentence so they are constructed without those words. Make sense?
However, there are times when those words are necessary. This is the writing curve and you will get better when you do your second drafts. My first drafts are still crap and horrible. Do you know how many times I used "really" and "just" in Dr. Vampyre? I was embarrassed. 102 times in a 37,000 word novella -- enough to make a reader throw the book across the room. I'm now down to 4 "just" and 7 "really" -- I found them necessary.
So...you do have to decide how many of "those" words you want. You are not going to be able to toss the important connectors: He green, doesn't sound the same as: He was green. Connectors convey important things. He green-- He was green? He will be green? What tense are we talking? Help me out!
ACTION ITEM: Check out your latest and count how many times you use "was", "that", and "to be".
My efforts are to make this a learning blog where writers can see the flip side of publishing. If you have comments that will improve your experience or have a certain topic you'd like discussed, please contact me through email - HERE.
~ Sincerley, Your Editor
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