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.
WHO or THAT? – This is a question writers often don’t think to ask themselves as they write. It has become standard in our speech to use “that” to refer to both a thing and a person. Technically, however, “who” is the proper pronoun to refer to a person and “that” is the proper pronoun to refer to a a thing.
SEARCH: Do a search for “who” and evaluate each usage to discover whether you use it in this context at all. If you find only a few, chances are that this is an issue you need to address.
SEARCH: Do a search for “that,” and evaluate each usage. For each one which refers back to a person, change it to “who.” Since “that” is a common word, this will be a tedious process. While you’re at it, you can also check to see if each “that” is an extraneous word (He knew that he needed to get his homework done. = He knew he needed to get his homework done.) and if it is, then delete the appropriate extraneous words.
Wrong – The man that knocked on the door earlier is back again.
Right – The man who knocked on the door earlier is back again.
Wrong – Donna delivered donuts to the girl that lives next door.
Right – Donna delivered donuts to the girl who lives next door.