Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Backwards Manuscripts and Rewriting
I've discovered something during endless days of rewriting children's middle grade novels. Most of my stories start out backwards. Maybe the beginning is near the ending, sort of like that great movie I saw recently, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. In that memorable flick, Ben started out as an elderly man who aged backwards until he became a baby at the end of his life.
A story may start out old, then gradually during numerous rewrites, it becomes youthful and ready for the eyes and minds of young readers.
The saying, "Writing is rewriting," is one of the most true sentences you will hear. Sounds so simple, yet to follow this advice takes strength, perseverance, and numerous days and nights of "butt in the chair."
Is all that rewriting worth the time and effort? You bet. Imagine a library or a bookstore or an online selling venue full of books that tell stories that remind readers of wrinkled old men and women. (Not that there is anything wrong with such creatures. I have a few wrinkles myself!) Picture how stretched out and incontinent these tales would be. Now imagine these stories trimmed, tweaked, tightened, polished, lovingly edited, edited some more, and tailored for young readers.
Rewriting is a beautiful thing. Really. If you're an author or aspire to write and publish, embrace the concept and turn your manuscripts around.