You’ve heard of writing prompts, now we have revision prompts! Each prompt will give you a specific writing issue to check for in your WIP, along with tips on how to fix each. Going through this process one issue at a time will not only help polish your current novel but will also teach you specific ways to improve your writing for your next story.
WHAT IS A DEPENDENT PHRASE? – As the name implies, this type of phrase is dependent. It needs to be attached to a main clause. It cannot stand by itself. If you try saying a dependent clause as a complete sentence, it will leave you feeling like something is missing (because it is).
When we go home
Since school’s out today
If we win the contest
FIND: Choose one of the subordinate conjunctions below and do a search in your document for it.
as since although while because
if when whenever whatever whether
EXAMINE: Is the word at the beginning of the sentence? If so, read until you get to the end of the clause (it will include at least one verb as well as who or what is doing the action, and what the action is done to, along with any describing words that go with them). You can usually tell where the clause ends, because you will naturally pause there when reading the sentence.
Whenever we meet the man who always wears a suit (starts with “whenever,” includes the verb “meet,” “we” does the action, and “the man who always wears a suit” tells who is met)
Because the newly-built school creates more traffic (starts with “because,” includes the verb “creates,” “newly-built school” does the action, and “more traffic” tells what is created)
FIX: Place a comma at the end of the dependent clause. (If you find a period at the end of the dependent phrase, you will need to join the next sentence to the dependent phrase by changing the period to a comma and making the first letter of the word following the dependent clause lower case instead of capitalized).
REPEAT: Repeat this process for each of the subordinating conjunctions listed above.
WHY? – We naturally pause at the end of a dependent phrase. To indicate this pause, we need to put a comma in the sentence.
One of the keys to publication is a willingness to learn. We hope our Revising Prompts will help you learn more about the craft of writing and speed you on your way to publication.