Last week my query was critiqued over at Falling For Fiction. There wasn't much to say about the overall content of the query, but one thing grammar-wise stuck out: the word "that".

Just like commas, apparently "that" is something I don't use correctly.

After the critique, I went back and polished the query. Then I tackled my synopsis, which had the same problem. Then, as a commenter suggested, I went back and did a search for "that" on my manuscript.

A sea of that. As far as the eye can see.

So I started the slow process of removing them. And I realized that while most of the sentences were perfectly cromulent sentences, "that" did something terrible to them. It made them passive.

Ah, the passive voice. Bane of my existence.

So, off to more edits for me. I got half the MS done yesterday. I'm going to shoot for the remainder today. It's going to be a long day.


  1. That always sucks. I remember right before I released my first book someone pointed out a commonly occurring grammar issue. I spent the whole night fixing it. Just remember, it is a process, good luck on your book.

  2. That rears its ugly head in everyone's MS. That's what Search is for! :) Happy writing.

  3. Sorry about your issues. I've got so many writing tics that focusing on only a few just makes the others more obvious. I brilliantly have so many that no one is quite sure what to point out.

  4. Just pretend someone is charging you money for every passive verb, every weasel word (that, just, as, suddenly...), and every filter word. You'll have no trouble pruning. LOL

    But seriously, as you process more crits and edits, you'll train yourself not to write them in the first place. ;)


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