Skip to main content

Write on Wednesdays, exercise 14: The Might, might rewrite...

Write On Wednesdays



Write on Wednesday Exercise 14 - The Mighty Mighty Rewrite...
Zanni: I did a workshop with literary author Mj Hyland, who teachers Masters in Creative Writing at Manchester University. She asked us to choose our favourite book, take the first paragraph and then write our own content into the paragraph, keeping the structure, tone, language etc. It's really helpful!
No time limit. Let's keep up the focus on making each word count. Ready? Set? Write!

The reason I'm posting this on Thursday is that I only read the exercise on Tuesday night, and it completely stumped me. I couldn't think of my favourite book. I have a tendency to read books but then not keep them - so while I remember many, many hours of being completely taken away with a book, I can't remember titles or authors and I don't keep many books.

I've bent the rule and gone with the first paragraph of a short story I read earlier this year which has haunted me. I couldn't tell you the name of the story or name of the author (I know my favourite short story of all time is by Roald Dahl, but I can't tell you want it is and I've never been able to find it since reading it over two decades ago!). I had to wait for the boy to wake up this morning to retrieve the book which held the paragraph I'm going to work with - and to find out the name of the story and the author!

'Grey Sky Morning' by Jack Cassidy, from the The Sleepers Almanac No.6


We got a letter today. It came from the north. Across vast expanses of frozen wilderness from a place that, to most people, will only ever be myth. How did it come? I can only imagine, because my father always said that when he was up there, there was no way to write to us. But this letter got to us all the same.


My version


My brother always said when he finally got away, we would never see or hear from him again. He would dissolve into a world where people were shadows and memories and he would be free. Yet, this morning a message arrived from the world of memories and shadow, I am not sure how it found me, but there it was, an email from a shadow who had seen our brother-memory.

Comments

Jayne said…
Love it! Very haunting and ethereal. *shivers* ousein
I like the spin. V good!
Jayne said…
I love your version :)
Interesting post.

We just bought my 'MIL' an ebook reader for her B'Day. The plan is to load the ebook up with all her favouire story's then get rid of all her 1000's of books. yes 1000's i kid you not, its crazy.
Sheri Bomb said…
Wow...you re-write felt familiar to me and yet it was so eerie and intriguing! Really enjoyed it, great job!
House of Prowse said…
eerie from the place of shadows and memories... got me intrigued
Adam said…
You bought it into modern times with the e-mail reference but kept the original style. Good Job. Out of interest do you remember what the Dahl short story was about?
Sarah Mac said…
That made me shiver. Loved the phrase 'a place of shadows and memories'.

Share the Dahl story (or what, if anything you can remember) between us I'm sure we can track it down.
Sif said…
Thanks guys :)

Okay, so the story (and now I'll be really embarrassed if it's not a Dahl story - Maybe it's a Poe story)...

It's about a young woman on her honey moon who drives by a field with a tower in it on the way to the hotel (might be in Italy, not sure, I was like 14 when I read this). At the hotel her husband has a nap and she is drawn to the tower.

When she gets to it, she is drawn to climb the spiral staircase inside and she counts the steps, then she is drawn to step out onto a ledge or small balcony. Then she is almost overwhelmed by the urge to jump, but manages to drag herself back into the tower, and climb the steps back down, which are many more than the ones she counted going up...

It was written in such a compelling way that while reading the scene where she is fight to jumping from the tower, I actually wanted her to jump and felt convinced that had I been up there I would have jumped!

Compelling - that is how I want to write! I "thought" the story was called "The Tower", but have never been able to find it...
Lene said…
Your rewrite is so beautiful and so intriguing. Well done.
K.D.Storm said…
I love this piece. This is the kind of stuff I enjoy reading. You did a great job.
Sif said…
Thanks for all the supportive comments! I'm going to be out tomorrow but will go around and read and comment on all the WoW submissions over the weekend! Can't wait to read everyone's words!
Stephanie said…
Very haunting and intriguing. I want to read more!!! You did an excellent job! The tone is pefect and the mood sets it in stone! :)
InkPaperPen said…
So many things I loved about this post. The explanation behind your rewrite, the mention and telling of the short story (in your comment!) and your actual paragraph. This was the beginning of quite a story, Sif. You kept the mood of the first piece and yet it is different content. Goosebumps material!

I want to be a compelling writer too! I love that you have identified a style you want to write in
Andy said…
"...a message arrived from the world of memories and shadow." That's very intriguing! You have maintained the structure and the tone of the original para while giving your version its own identity. And yes, it's a goosebumps material.


Smiles,


Andy

Popular posts from this blog

12 Things Happy People Do Differently - a self-reflection...

A few days ago a Facebook friend posted the above poster on her wall. I believe she got these points from this blog which she enjoys reading, and the bloggers on the Marc and Angel Hack Life blog derived their discussion of these points from this book, available on Amazon - you're welcome! I have to admit, I haven't read the blog or the book I've just mentioned but wanted my readers to have access to the sources of the poster for their own reflective purposes.
The New Year will be upon us in but a few days and I thought this a great opportunity to do a little personal assessment on how I'm playing the happy game. I'm often not very happy at all - I don't need to be happy all the time, let me just say that up front - I personally believe that life is a balancing act and those who seek euphoria often will also often feel desolation because in all things there must be balance. The great riches of the few on this planet come at the personal cost of the many as is …

The symbolism of elephants...

Just recently I've been seeing and noticing elephants everywhere!

A few weeks ago I saw the Samsung Elephant Ad, and watching that led me to watching a video with an elephant painting (seriously, you have to watch it to believe it!).

Then last night the boys told me they were having a free dress day at school to raise money for 'Mali the Elephant' - who turned out to be a paper maché statue which the children will paint and then show around the council before it comes back to the school to stand outside the performing arts room.

Then this morning I followed a link from Twitter to Toushka Lee's blog and read this post about an elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka.

This morning the Grumpy Old Man did another driving test and unfortunately didn't pass. We've booked his next test and are looking forward to that now. About ten minutes before he walked in the door I saw this poster on Facebook...


At the time, I didn't know if the Grumpy Old Man had been successful or …

Alone... And Stuff...

Do you ever just need to be alone?



As the boys are growing up, we have more times when the house is quiet. The youngest will be asleep. One will be reading, one will be playing on his computer with headphones on, one will be painting and there is stillness.

Sometimes, even that is not enough.

Sometimes I crave being alone, with no possibility of someone suddenly realising they have to tell me something important or ask me a question or even just crash about in the kitchen.

Sometimes I crave S P A C E, lots and lots of space, being able to walk from room to room without encountering another soul.

This is how I felt when I woke up this morning, so instead of getting ready for work, I decided to stay home. Get up, but not go anywhere, no hear the sound of my own voice, or anyone else's.

I think this might just be part of getting older. After a lifetime of chasing after other people and trying not to be alone, my mind and body is full of thoughts, experiences, feelings, and busy-ness …