in_place_editor question

Is there a way to force the in_place_editor plugin to only use
external_control? I'm using in_place_editor to allow my users to edit
their tags on an object, so when the tags are not being edited, I want
them to be links. Unfortunately, even if I define an
external_control, the field is "click to edit" making my tag links
unusable. The external control works as well.

Before I play some games with javascript to swap things around, I
wanted to see if there was a way using the standard plugin to do what
I want.