Lesson Four from the Gold Mine Manuscript Red Line: And Then there was a Conjunction, or Was There?

For an intro into where these tips are coming from, please see my post: A Full Manuscript Rejection, or a Gold Mine?


Originally, I was going to skip over this, because I thought it seemed a little obvious.  But then I thought, maybe not.

This publisher simply hated the idea of “and then”.  They said: “And then is not a proper conjunction.  And is a proper conjunction… use for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so which are considered “proper” conjunctions.”

I did a search in my own manuscript, and found 73 instances of “and then”.  Honestly, I was a little surprised to find so many in my story.  The more I thought about it, every instance is like a laundry list “tell sequence”.

Matt did this, and then he did that, and then he did that. (It was not quite so blatant, but you get the idea) If you think about it, it’s kind of funny.  I know when I was beta reading the manuscript for my BP, the “and then’s” did pop out here and there, but I just figured it was writing style.  I didn’t particularly like it, but I let it go.  I didn’t even realize I was doing it myself.  Now that I’m re-reading with these comments in mind, they are popping out and blaring:  No No No!

So, my advice is, do what I did:  Do a search/replace on your manuscript just for starters.  Search for “and then” and replace with “and then” (just make sure you spell it correctly)  It won’t change anything, it will just give you a count of how many times you did it.  If it’s a lot, search again and start editing!

This is an easy fix.   I’m not saying this will bother every publisher, but if it’s a pet peeve of one publisher, it will probably bother another one, or two, or three.  Personally, I’m not willing to take a chance and let them go now that I realize what I’ve done.





13 responses to “Lesson Four from the Gold Mine Manuscript Red Line: And Then there was a Conjunction, or Was There?

  1. It’s only been recently that I have started using the word, then, in my writing. Yes, I did use it long ago when I was a kid too. It has never dawned on me to use, and then, for some unknown reason. I find that I use the word, yet, a lot, along with the word, still. I’ve been trying to avoid the word, however, because it makes me think of a stuffy factual article.

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  3. Oh, good grief—36 in a story that’s currently at 43,000 words. I can see a couple staying in dialogue, but as for the rest…. Great series to revisit, Jennifer! 🙂

  4. Sheesh. I must hurry and check my work. It’s always s.o.m.e.t.h.i.n.g. 🙂 Thanks.

  5. Hi Jennifer, did you give up on Write a Story With Me??? I was wondering how it ended.Haven’t heard from you in awhile & you never got around to posting my last installment.Hope it is resurrected soon. shayla

  6. The search and replace is helpful for other searches too. If you think you’re using a word too much you can do a count this way too. Helpful little hint. Thanks.