Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Write on Wednesdays - The mighty mighty re-write!

write on wednesday

The Write on Wednesday Rules: Get creative with the exercises. Don't worry too much about right or wrong. The aim is to Get Writing. Do try to visit the other writers linking up and leave a comment. You can grab the Write on Wednesday button from my sidebar.
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 book was easy to choose - I am a romance / history TRAGIC! From the book Cross Stitch - Diana Gabaldon.

The Original Paragraph...

It wasn't a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance. Mrs Baird's was like a thousand other Highland bed-and-breakfast establishments in 1946; clean and quiet, with fading floral wallpaper, gleaming floors and a coin-operated water heater in the bathroom. Mrs Baird herself was squat and easygoing, and made no objection to Frank lining her tiny rose-sprigged parlour with the dozens of books and papers with which he always travelled.

My re-write...
To all intents and purposes, the cottage at first glance was exactly like the next one. A Highland bed and breakfast opened after the close of the great war in 1946, it's primary intention as a getaway for young brides and their surviving soldiers; quaint and tidy, with understated furnishings, a narrow stairwell and a coin-operated phone in the front entry. Ms O'Donnell herself bright and bubbly, was welcoming of Beth littering her wee library with the dozens of maps and aged news clippings that she had found researching the disappearances.


Actually a little background story for you on why I chose this book - completely off topic - but relevant in it's own way!

I first heard of Diana Gabaldon many years ago through reading another history/romance series (Sara Donati) & I had planned on tracking down a copy for myself. A few weeks later on a trip to my home town, I was visiting my Nan and found this dog-eared, seen better days, copy in her overflowing bookshelf.

I got all excited and said "OMGeee... can I borrow this book to read"

She says to me "you can have it, it's old and I probably only paid a few bucks for it at the markets"

I said "but I can't take it from you, it's yours. How about I just borrow it and return it ok"

To which she replies "just take it, I really don't want it back"

So I did what any good grand-daughter would have done. I agreed but insisted that if she was going to give the book to me, then she should inscribe it in the front cover!


She wrote "To my best friend and G'daughter, Love Nan"

This Sunday marks 2 years since she passed away and its times like these, I am so grateful for those moments of friendly and crazy banter we shared. Today this book (and the whole series) has become one of my all time favourite books, every time I read it I think of her and even more special is that it was her copy originally... though I don't think she ever bothered to read it. I miss her so much, but it's these little memories that make it so much easier to live with.

Constructive Criticism MOST welcome.....


Sarah said...

I love the Outlander series too Car. I was lent the first book by and elderly neighbour of mine and carried on to read the whole series.

Freda died earlier this year aged 92 and I remember her whenever I think of or read the books.

A great rewrite and a lovely story behind it too :)

TV said...

Interesting back story to your rewrite, wouldn't mind knowing more about this character. ^^

Laura Maria said...

You did really good on this! The changes blended in nicely.
It would be great if you read The Kite Runner again. I hadn't heard anything about it when I saw the movie two years. Thank goodness I missed the hype!

Laura Maria said...

Sorry! I meant two years ago :p

Domesblissity said...

Car. Your little postscript gave me goosebumps. What a lovely story. I must say I haven't read any of Diana Gabaldon's novels but I'm intrigued now. Just what I need. To get lost in a romance novel. LOL Love your writing too

Anne xx

Unknown said...

I have never read the series but after reading that paragraph in here and your rewrite I am now curious. You did a great job and I enjoyed reading the touching backstory.

Domesblissity said...

Thanks for your comment Car. You either love or hate romantic English literature. I could read anything by the Bronte sisters over and over again.

Thanks for stopping by.

Anne xx

Lene said...

You've done a great job rewriting this. It makes me feel like reading the series! I love a bit of romance too. I love the background story, just beautiful.

Anonymous said...

The back-story to this post is lovely.You did a good job on the re-write too!

Andy said...

Hi car! Your rewrite is such a great work. I especially love how you include coin-operated phone to the scene, very 40s - you captured that brilliantly.



Anonymous said...

How lovely to have the book as a reminder of your Grandmother. Treasure.
I've heard of Diana Gabaldon, but not read any of her books.
I enjoyed your re-write, well done.

Anonymous said...

How lovely to have the book as a reminder of your Grandmother. Treasure.
I've heard of Diana Gabaldon, but not read any of her books.
I enjoyed your re-write, well done.

InkPaperPen said...

I liked the back story to your rewrite too! Perhaps we could hear more about it in the weeks to come for WoW. An interesting character!

Well done on the rewrite. I know this week was a tough one but you got there. Great!

Gill x

Stella Orbit said...

A great aside to this week's exercise. What a nice keepsake.
I liked the re-write, especially how you kept the tone so consistent.

No one said...

Great back story! This was really well rewritten. I stumbled a bit on the use of the word "wee". I had a think and realised that with it being in the Highlands this is very contextual, but guess it stood out as bringing a little more attention to itself than the other words. The rest of it flowed perfectly and had the same feel and style as the original - well done!