Friday, August 31, 2007

In, or Out?

So, you know the rule? No adverbs? Well, I’ve been using a few adverbs in my writing, lately. It’d gotten to the point where I use practically none. (In my fiction, that is. I don’t seem to have the slightest problem using adverbs galore in my blog, LOL.)

It felt like a naughty pleasure, like a sin that was oh-so fun. I’ll let you know if it’s still there after I polish the chapter tomorrow.

Then I hear adjectives are out? No one told me! Oh shit.

I’ve also noticed (that) I’ve been missing the word that lately. I know it’s out. I eradicated it from my fiction. In my reading, I’ve also noticed (that) other authors have eradicated it, too.

But lately, I’ve found myself having to mentally insert that, in order to clear up a sentence. Right now, I’m not putting them in my fiction (except where absolutely necessary), but I’m finding (that) I want very much to put it in.

I’m told (that) it’s incorrect to use that in such a way, (that) it’s needless and leads to loose writing. But when I read all these sentences with no thats, I often have to go back and re-read the sentence, and adjust my mental inflection of the sentence.

Having to re-read a sentence and re-adjust one’s mental inflection of a sentence has always struck me as a mistake. Something I need to fix. I don’t want to interrupt the flow for a reader, not ever.

Yes, it’s tighter without the thats, but I have to re-read more often. Probably I just read too fast, and it’s something I need to adjust in my reading. Maybe I just read differently, and I need to trust the rule, in this case.

So, for the time being, thats are out, I guess. What do you think?

(If I’m a good little writer, you won’t hear from me all weekend. If you do, you can yell at me for procrastinating. I’ve got 28,000 words to write by Thursday. Plus a DH to welcome home, LOL.)

7 bonus scribbles:

Susan Helene Gottfried 9/01/2007 09:02:00 AM  

I'm a firm believer in all things in moderation. That sometimes, you need that, adverbs, and adjectives.

WTF? We're all supposed to be minimalists like Raymond Carver all of a sudden?

No, thanks.

Kate S 9/01/2007 11:20:00 AM  

How funny, Spy. I did a whole blog on "that" and other no-no's on one of my blogs recently.

I've been pruning unnecessary "thats", "thens" and "ands" etc. Much of it for the better, though I still have a hard getting rid of "then". You know, sometimes, you just need it. After all, it is a part of our vocabulary, hence it must have SOME use, right?

I think you are on to something, though, about reading and having to mentally insert a word. If I find I'm mentally inserting words on my rereads, then I go ahead and put them back in. I think it's a bad idea to pull a reader out of story at any time - whether we're too generous or too miserly with words.

spyscribbler 9/01/2007 12:09:00 PM  

Kate, you did? On that? How did I miss that? Of course, it's likely I read it and it promptly fell out of my brain, LOL. Or maybe it stewed in my subconscious and appeared in this post. :-)

spyscribbler 9/01/2007 12:11:00 PM  

Susan, moderation is one of the wisest words in the English language! I'm still undecided about that. It does make sense, but oftentimes the sentence feels so much clearer--less work for the reader--with the that intact.

I'm not brave enough to put them in, yet, just in case "they" are right.

Liz Wolfe 9/01/2007 05:31:00 PM  

I just want to know who's making all these rules. No adjectives? How are we going to describe anything?
All the rules just make me want to break them...lol

Bernita 9/02/2007 07:30:00 AM  

"Or maybe it stewed in my subconscious and appeared in this post."
That will be my excuse if I blog about adverbs et sec next week as I planned.

Sometimes it's just a case of coincidental irritation.

writtenwyrdd 9/03/2007 02:58:00 PM  

It's not "wrong" if you do it for a reason.