Jen’s Writing Tip #8: This, That and the Other Thing

Looking to cut words in your manuscript to meet the word count? After you review it for unnecessary sentences, do a search through your document. Search for the word “that.” It’s a word we use without realizing it. Many times, it just clutters up the work.

For example:

It made Tammi mad that Alice took that book.

Aside from having unnecessary words in the sentence, it’s also hard to visualize what is going on. Now take a look at the same sentence without “that.” (Plus a better adjective in there couldn’t hurt.)

Tammi scowled at Alice for taking the book.

See how the second sentence flows better? You also have a better visual of what’s going on. In this case the sentences have almost the same word count, but again, it’s more clear as to what is going on.

Here’s an example on how eliminating “that” can shorten your sentences. There are often times more unnecessary words to accompany “that.”

For example:

I found that reading the story reminded me of my childhood.

Which words would you cut to make the sentence more appealing? Now take a look below:

Reading the story reminded me of my childhood.

Which sentence did you enjoy reading more? Which one sounded more natural?

For your next manuscript, make sure that that is left out 😉

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