I just finished the three weeks online course on Film Production by Future Learn. I managed to cramp it into two weeks and one day! It was an interesting course that gave more insight into what roles there are in film making. The last week was more focused on how people should start getting into the film business, with emphasis on being runners and working your way up. Not much about script writing, so can’t wait for the course Introduction To Script Writing to start at the end of the month!
The Independent and Dependent Clause
When I first read about ‘the clause’ I had to suppress a giggle. With no literary education apart from my high school English the only clause I had ever heard of was, of course, Santa Clause. But as I read on, I realised how important the clause is, and I admit I have made mistakes regarding this little-but-oh-so-important part of literature. I will try to give you a simplified explanation of ‘the clause’ and will start with the ‘independent clause’ vs. the ‘dependent clause.’
For those who don’t know (yet), the clause is the smallest way to make a sentence; it contains a subject and a verb. I walk. They sat. We read. These are all sentences made of a single clause. They contain a subject and a verb. You can have one or two clauses in a sentence and, if you’re wise with words, even more. Have a look at this 239-words sentence, its amazing!
Every sentence must have at least one (main) clause, otherwise you will have something called a fragment, which is, obviously, not a sentence.
Example of one clause: We drank a lot of wine. (We = subject; drank = verb)
Example of two clauses: We drank a lot of wine, and we danced all night. (We, we = subjects; drank, danced = verbs)
example of three clauses: We drank a lot of wine, although I didn’t really like the vintage, and we danced all night. (We, I, we = subjects; drank, didn’t like, danced = verbs)
Example of a fragment: Drank a lot of wine. (? = subject; drank = verb; hence no clause)
Clauses can be independent or dependent/subordinate.
An independent clause can make a sentence on its own.
Example: We drank a lot of wine.
A dependent/subordinate clause can’t stand on its own; it is dependent on an independent clause.
Example: Because we drank a lot of wine, we danced all night.
The underlined first clause in the above example is now a dependent clause as ‘because we drank a lot of wine’ is not a proper sentence on its own; because of this something happens. i.e. ‘we danced all night’. Because ‘we danced all night’ can be a separate sentence on its own it is an independent clause. ‘We drank a lot of wine’ would have been an independent clause, but because we added ‘because’ to it, it isn’t any longer. It now is dependent on the independent clause ‘we danced all night,’ and hence is now a depended clause. Confused yet?
Connecting independent clauses
You can connect two independent clauses in three ways;
- with coordinating conjunctions. They are: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so; or FANBOYS (see this page). This page also has interesting text on when to use a comma with coordinating conjunctions. I learned something again here, hence I put the comma into the example sentence with the two clauses! But more about punctuation in another blog.
- with a semicolon (;) or colon (:)
- with a semicolon, a transition word and a comma (example: I like wine; however, I don’t like dry wines) (see this page for transition words like after, as although, unless and more)
Connecting a dependent clause to an independent clause
You can connect a dependent clause to an independent clause in two ways: by using a subordinate conjunction or a relative pronoun.
You use another type of conjunction to connect a dependent/subordinate clause to an independent clause; the subordinate conjunction (although, as, because, etc.). You can find a list with the most used subordinate conjunctions here.
You can start the sentence with the independent clause or with the dependent clause. If using the former, don’t use a comma to combine the two clauses. When using the latter, separate the two clauses with a comma. These two last sentences are good examples for the latter sentence structure (dependent before independent clause).
Example of former: We danced all night because we drank a lot of wine. (dependent clause first, so no comma)
By the way, there is a fine line between transition words and conjunctions. Some words can even be used as both. Have a look at this page for further information.
Another way to connect a dependent clause to an independent clause is with a relative pronoun; that, which, whichever, who, whoever, whom, whomever, whose, and of which. These words take over the role of the subject in the dependent clause and integrates the conjunction word. Look at the next two examples.
Example 1: We drank a lot of wine, but the wine was horrible, and danced all night.
Example 2: We drank a lot of wine, which was horrible, and danced all night.
In the second example ‘which’ takes the place of the conjunction ‘but’ and the noun ‘wine’ from the first example. ‘which was horrible’ is not an independent clause, it is dependent on ‘we drank a lot of wine’ and refers to the word ‘wine.’
I think this is enough wine drinking and dancing for now! Next week I will discuss the restrictive and non-restrictive clauses.
Have a Wonderful Writing Week(end)!
PS: If anybody notices that I’ve got something wrong, please let me know. I have no proper literary education and get all my information from the internet.
Websites used to compile this text:
I read an article on Flipboard yesterday titled ‘The Beauty of Writing – What I Wish All Writers Knew’ by Vanessa Carnevale, Fiction & Freelance Writer, Coach (Her article)
The words that struck me were the following:
‘If you push past the discomfort by treating your first draft with gentleness and reverence, there will come a point that your story will take hold of you instead of you taking hold of your story.’
That is exactly what happened when I started writing my first novel! I sat back and let the characters do what they wanted to do. I immersed myself in the situation and… it just happened. I was merely the medium that was putting the words on paper. I didn’t plan the story line, I didn’t think about where I wanted to go with the story; I just let it happen… AND IT DID! Sometimes I even surprised myself with what I had written. My main character would be peddling up shit creek and I had no idea how to get her out again, but she did this all herself!
It’s the same with writing songs I suppose, as Marlon Roudette’s sings in ‘When the Beat Drops Out’: ‘The song will write you, you don’t write it.’ This was the song, by the way, that initiated my dream. He sings ‘ I was running, we collided’ and ‘I didn’t mean to fall in love, last thing I was thinking off.’ That’s exactly what happened in my dream: girl was running and collided with vampire, hopelessly falling in love with him.
So you never know where your inspiration comes from, but you shouldn’t worry about it. It’ll come, one way or another. Don’t give up, just put your pen to paper! Or your fingers to the keyboard… 🙂
Yes, it’s Romance Week on Goodreads!
And who doesn’t like some romance in their lives? I have copied some romantic excerpts from both my novels onto my Goodreads page, but for those of you who are not Goodreads members (I’m not sure if you can read Goodreads stuff if you’re not) or just lazy (;P) I have copied them here too. I hope you get all romantic now…
Excerpt from Succedaneum – Living Like A Vampire
I found my way back to the foyer and was glad to find that the drone had fallen asleep whilst on duty. Outside the sun was still shining, I blinked heavily and I hesitated to go outside.
I can’t do this anymore…
I so wanted to go away, get in a car and leave all this shit behind me. I wanted to feel the sun on my face and just drive, I didn’t care where to. True, I wanted to find Caleb, but it was more than that. I wanted normality, I wanted the boredom of going to work every day, I wanted laughing children around me, and I wanted to visit my parents and my sisters.
“Please don’t go,” I heard a quiet voice say behind me all of a sudden. I turned around and saw Charlie standing there. “You’ll expose us all,” he added.
The stupidity of what I had just contemplated then hit me, I let my bag fall to the floor and I dropped onto the couch next to me and started crying. Charlie quickly came over, sat next to me and put his arms around me. I put my head on his shoulder and cried until there were no more tears coming. Charlie unlocked our embrace and looked at me.
“Look, if you are so sure about him, I will help you find Caleb.”
“Would you do that for me?” I asked as I grabbed his hands.
“Of course, Kate, I would do anything for you. I thought you knew that by now.”
I smiled at him. Even though I had been so angry at him, I was so glad to have Charlie in my life. He was the rock that I could cling to while the turbulent torrent of chaos that surrounded me was trying to grab me, trying to drown me.
He noticed the bump on my forehead and gently touched it. “You want some ice on that?” he asked with the sweetest voice.
“No, it’s okay,” I said, and all of a sudden I was extremely tired again. I put my feet up on the couch and leaned against his body.
Charlie didn’t react immediately, but then decided that I would probably be okay with him putting his arms around me and we sat there together until the sun had gone down.
Excerpt from Succedaneum – Raising A Vampire
But he only kissed my neck. Then his lips stroked my skin, his fangs dragging. His breath was warm an arousing me. He licked my skin, trailing my jugular all the way up and then he sucked my earlobe as he pulled my hair. I put my arms and legs around him, pulling him even closer, pressing him to sensitive parts of me. His caresses were like a typhoon, wrecking me like a house built of straw. I was nothing against his power.
All of a sudden I had to cry. I felt wonderful and awful at the same time. Thoughts of John and Charlie were jumping up involuntarily. I didn’t want to betray Charlie, but I wanted Caleb so much right there and then. But Caleb’s hands on my body reminded me of John’s and made me feel dirty. This was so unfair, there was just no way to feel good about this any which way I turned it.
“Caleb, I can’t do this,” I said as I took his face in my hands and made him focus on my eyes. “I love Charlie too much.”
His eyes filled with tears too. “I have waited for you for ten years, Kate…” he said under his breath.
“But I can’t be with you, can’t you see that?” I urged him to understand. “I have a partner and a daughter. I love them both dearly and I can’t just leave that all behind me…” I rested my head against his and tears fell from my eyes.
We stayed like that for a little while, both breathing heavily. Then all of a sudden he let go of me and walked out of the bathroom. He didn’t look back and I hadn’t been able to see his face. I had no idea what state of mind he was in now.
I quickly jumped off the benchtop and ran back to Sue’s room. She was still sleeping soundly. I sat down beside her bed, hid my face in my arms and wept silently.
Copyrighted by Jacky Dahlhaus
I thought I’d start to blog about what I learn on my writing journey. Every Friday I will post a topic about an issue I have encountered. As you may know, English is not my first language. Some of the things I have learned may be pretty obvious to you, but some may surprise you, who knows!
Who tells the story?
Today I thought I’d start with the beginning. Logic, it seems, but not always so. I suppose most people start writing by putting their pen to the paper (or fingers on the keyboard) without giving it any further thought. They write and then sit back and look at it (or not). But the first thing that you should be thinking about is ‘who is telling the story?’
Most stories are apparently told in the third person; the all-knowing ghost hanging around in places where things happen and telling the reader what it sees, who does what and how these persons feel. It gives you, the writer, the opportunity to view things from different people’s perspective, which is a great advantage if you want to tell ‘the whole story.’ You can move about, so to speak, from one side to the other side of the planet in a flash, which is great.
When a story is told in the first person, i.e. the reader is inside the main character’s head during the whole story, you are limited in what you can write. You can’t let the reader know what is happening in a location that your main character, the first person, is not. Not even when its just a few meters away, like in another room. This can sometimes be a real burden if you have a story with multiple happenings and persons in different locations at the same time.
What I find attractive about writing in the first person is that you can give the reader a much deeper insight into the thoughts and feelings of that character, so the reader gets to know the reasoning of why this character acts the way they do. Of course, when you are a good writer you can do this in the third person for all your characters, but it takes a lot more effort to get into every character’s head though and so can be more ‘exhausting’ for the writer.
I started writing my competition story, ‘Choices,’ in the third person. When I sat back and looked at it again the next day I realised that what I had written was only what my main character was experiencing. It felt wrong. Probably because I had written two novels in the first person already and am now ‘conditioned’ to it. So I changed it all to the first person and thought it was much better. Let’s hope the judges think so too.
In the end it doesn’t matter which form of writing you choose, as long as you’re comfortable with it and the story ‘flows.’ It does help to figure it out before you set a pen to paper as this saves you a lot of editing afterwards!
I have just started this website and I am still working out how to get it the way I want. Bear with me! I hope you will like the end result…