"With that"

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Watcher55
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"With that"

Post by Watcher55 » December 12th, 2010, 8:04 pm

“With that” as in:

He sneered, “I’ll show you what I mean.” With that, he raised the rock and drove it into his prey’s head.

I did a blue-pencil read of my WIP today and noticed how many times I used “With that” and eliminated most of them by simply removing them. Others I replaced with legitimate thoughts. There were a few however I had to simply highlight for future consideration. Is there ever a good time to use this construction or is just a lazy person’s “bridge thought”?

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cheekychook
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Re: "With that"

Post by cheekychook » December 12th, 2010, 11:44 pm

This is just a personal opinion but, to me, the use of "with that" just sets a certain tone to the writing. Depending on the voice of the novel I think it could be quite appropriate. If it stands out, then I think it's a problem. If you think it's unnecessary then by all means, cut away, but if it "fits" in certain spots I would vote to leave it. I'd give examples of good and bad usage but I'm too tired to come up with any. Let a beta reader have a few scenes that contain "with that"s and see if that's something they circle. If not, my guess is you're probably fine. It's good that you noticed the overuse---everyone has certain words or phrases they overuse, it's the ones we don't see that are the trickiest. With that I'm off to bake some Christmas cookies. :)
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polymath
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Re: "With that"

Post by polymath » December 13th, 2010, 12:40 am

In the given context "with that" looks like a discourse marker, oftentimes nonsensical prefatory words or phrases spoken in everyday speech while gathering one's thoughts. Well, you know, like, with that, okay, Larry thought, I'll go fishing.

As cheekychook noted, if it's part of an attitude holder's speaking style it can add color, although when discourse markers are a repetitive tic they can become burdensome.

"With that," preposition and pronoun clause referencing an antecedent subject or object. I can't come up with an artful anticipatory usage referencing a following subject or object. Well, maybe, With that; that is, the subject automobile wreck I believe we are here today about, we can begin the expert witness deposition. Does that agree with your understanding, Counsel and Mr. Expert?

"That is" introductions and similarly namely introductions of following content are frequently used by formal speakers, thus implicating the register attribute of narrative voice. For example for neutral register, and for instance and like for informal register. I think "with that" also might implicate a formal register. I think I'd find it delightful occasionally if "with that" were used to contradict an informally educated speaker putting on airs.

Also "with that" seems a recititation by a narrator, in other words a tell. Unless expressly given in character discourse, dialogue or thought, I think the phrase would indicate an overt narrator or an intuding covert narrator in narration writing modes. In the former circumstance, "with that" sparingly used might characterize a narrator in desirable ways. Like when expressing commentary. In the latter circumstance, I'd feel like I'd been pulled aside and directly spoken to by a narrator far removed in time and place from the narrative frame. Narrative distance might be jeapordized.
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lyndoncr
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Re: "With that"

Post by lyndoncr » December 13th, 2010, 6:14 am

Like you I've had a few "with that" and at that"'s ... pretty much all of them have been cut in subsequent drafts. They so often just feel unnecessary when read back. I've surely kept one or two though.

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Re: "With that"

Post by sierramcconnell » December 15th, 2010, 3:28 pm

It's almost as bad a bridge as 'he took a breath' or 'he nodded'. XD

I was told that 'that' and 'then' are frequent word count killers. You can often remove them. :3
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Watcher55
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Re: "With that"

Post by Watcher55 » December 15th, 2010, 3:33 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:It's almost as bad a bridge as 'he took a breath' or 'he nodded'. XD

I was told that 'that' and 'then' are frequent word count killers. You can often remove them. :3
Oh crap, now I have to go back and take out all the "he nodded"'s :}

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Re: "With that"

Post by sierramcconnell » December 15th, 2010, 3:58 pm

Watcher55 wrote:
sierramcconnell wrote:It's almost as bad a bridge as 'he took a breath' or 'he nodded'. XD

I was told that 'that' and 'then' are frequent word count killers. You can often remove them. :3
Oh crap, now I have to go back and take out all the "he nodded"'s :}
I had to take out a bunch of things. Eyes and so on. I'll have to look for my list...

Here it is, from the blog!


Things to edit out of manuscript:

Breathed - 20 instances down to 4
Breathe - forgot this one, ? instances down to 4
Breath - 115 instances (Holy CRAP) - DOWN TO 31! (Hell to the YEAH.)
twitch/twitching lips (What, do we all have palsy or something?) - ? instances down to 4 (actually, it looked like a hell of a lot more than 9!)

All those eye descriptions:

eye - 24 - 25 (Huh?)
eyes - 375 (DEAR GOD) - 229 (146 instances removed)
gaze - 45 - 54 (this got worse but something had to replace EYES)
blue - 40 - 35
pink - 26 (Hey, three characters, people.) 22 (I forgot rose, it stands at 51 somehow...)
green - 31 - 27
grey - 40 - 37
silver - 35 (Hey, three characters, as well, at one point.) - 31
yellow - 15 - 9
gold - 86 (Two characters.) - 43 (OH YEAH.)
tangerine - 8 - 4
orange - 12 - 12 (Now, I know I cut some of these, but they were usually -)
sea-green - 4 - 3


I have a lot of color description. A LOT. It was such an ordeal going through to edit it, that now when I write, if I start to type something, I try not to. XD
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Watcher55
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Re: "With that"

Post by Watcher55 » December 15th, 2010, 4:06 pm

YIKES! I never thought of keeping score. It hurts my head.
Watcher's numbering system (I'm allowed to hi-jack my own thread aren't I?):
None
One
Couple
Few
More
Many
Too many

One + Couple = Few
One x Couple = Couple
Few x More = Too many

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CharleeVale
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Re: "With that"

Post by CharleeVale » December 15th, 2010, 4:24 pm

You made me curious, so I went and checked my manuscript for 'With that' (In the bridging the gap sense) and am proud to say I only had 3! Yay!

As for the others, I don't have time to count right now.

Sierra, how did you count all those? Manually? or do you have a 'specific word counter' thing.

CV

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sierramcconnell
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Re: "With that"

Post by sierramcconnell » December 15th, 2010, 4:34 pm

CharleeVale wrote:You made me curious, so I went and checked my manuscript for 'With that' (In the bridging the gap sense) and am proud to say I only had 3! Yay!

As for the others, I don't have time to count right now.

Sierra, how did you count all those? Manually? or do you have a 'specific word counter' thing.

CV
I used Word, Highlight all. :3
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Watcher55
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Re: "With that"

Post by Watcher55 » December 16th, 2010, 10:05 am

sierramcconnell wrote:pink - 26 (Hey, three characters, people.) 22 (I forgot rose, it stands at 51 somehow...)
Albinoes? You have three albinoes? I only have two - but they're identical twins (no-really).

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CharleeVale
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Re: "With that"

Post by CharleeVale » December 16th, 2010, 10:16 am

Watcher55 wrote:
sierramcconnell wrote:pink - 26 (Hey, three characters, people.) 22 (I forgot rose, it stands at 51 somehow...)
Albinoes? You have three albinoes? I only have two - but they're identical twins (no-really).
Like the Matrix?

CV

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Watcher55
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Re: "With that"

Post by Watcher55 » December 16th, 2010, 10:37 am

CharleeVale wrote:
Watcher55 wrote:
sierramcconnell wrote:pink - 26 (Hey, three characters, people.) 22 (I forgot rose, it stands at 51 somehow...)
Albinoes? You have three albinoes? I only have two - but they're identical twins (no-really).
Like the Matrix?

CV
enh - Mine aren't ugly or scary. I was more than a little p-o'd when that movie came out (mostly because they beat me to the punch) but these particular characters were conceived in 1999; before the first movie came out.

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sierramcconnell
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Re: "With that"

Post by sierramcconnell » December 16th, 2010, 10:59 am

Watcher55 wrote:
sierramcconnell wrote:pink - 26 (Hey, three characters, people.) 22 (I forgot rose, it stands at 51 somehow...)
Albinoes? You have three albinoes? I only have two - but they're identical twins (no-really).
No, they're Nephilim, descended from Nanyael, the Watcher of Instruments and Song. He has rose colored eyes and wheat hair. But for his descendants the hair is actually straw-like. Light blonde and tough fibered. It's very hard to brush. XD
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Watcher55
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Re: "With that"

Post by Watcher55 » December 16th, 2010, 11:04 am

sierramcconnell wrote:
Watcher55 wrote:
sierramcconnell wrote:pink - 26 (Hey, three characters, people.) 22 (I forgot rose, it stands at 51 somehow...)
Albinoes? You have three albinoes? I only have two - but they're identical twins (no-really).
No, they're Nephilim, descended from Nanyael, the Watcher of Instruments and Song. He has rose colored eyes and wheat hair. But for his descendants the hair is actually straw-like. Light blonde and tough fibered. It's very hard to brush. XD
Have they tried a pitch fork and nice aloe conditioner?

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