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Monday, 12 September 2011

The Mighty Rewrite

Write On Wednesdays



This week's writing exercise is brought to you by Zanni from All about being a mummy. I'm very pleased to be receiving so many  great writing prompts. It does make my job pretty easy but I like to get your ideas because it means we get to try many different styles/exercises/prompts. It's easy for me to float around in the same area, picking similar exercises without realising it. Lets face it: two heads (or fifty three perhaps?) are really better than one. Keep them coming! 

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!


When I saw the writing prompt for this weeks WoW my heart sank.  Not only because I have a post already written about Rock Chick which I was hoping I would be able to work into the prompt but because my favorite book is by Gerald Durrell.

Somehow an attempt to rewrite ANYTHING he has written seems like sacrilege to me and yet here I am being asked to attempt it.

So, sending up a silent prayer for forgiveness here is my attempt to rewrite the first chapter of My Family and Other Animals.

Technically the first chapter would be 'The Speech For The Defence' but for me, the story proper starts with 'The Migration' so this is the chapter I've taken.

I've chosen to try to use the complete opposite of Geralds words in the rewrite.  This puts my own spin on it whilst also absolving me of having to try and  find words equal to Geralds, phew!


The Migration

July had been blown out like a candle by a biting wind that ushered in a leaden August sky.  A sharp stinging drizzle fell, billowing into opaque grey sheets when the wind caught it.  Along the Bournemouth seafront the beach huts turned blank wooded faces towards a greeny grey, froth chained sea that leapt eagerly at the cement bulwark of the shore.  The gulls had been tumbled inland over the town, and they now drifted above house tops on taut wings, whining peevishly.  It was the sort of weather calculated to try anyone's endurance.

The Rewrite

July had drifted out like smoke from a bonfire fanned by a gentle breeze ushering in August with cobalt blue skys.  A lustrous heat haze shimmered, dancing as the breeze caught it.  Along the Bournemouth seafront the beach huts turned soft pastel weather faded  faces towards a turquoise, white capped sea that whispered as it advanced and then retreated across the golden sand.  The gulls had been swooping over the fishing boats far out in the bay and they now glided above the harbour wall on taut wings, calling languidly to each other.  It was the sort of weather calculated to fill anyone's heart with joy and contentment.

30 comments:

TV said...

This is great, love the positive turn on it.
I think the first two sentences can become one, they seem to follow each other logically that way.
Is it bad if I like yours more than the original?

Hurray for Positivity!

Sarah Mac said...

You're right TV, the first two sentences should have been one (hmmm, not sure how or why I did that:).

Ummm, yes, no, maybe - I was pleased with mine but I wonder if I hadn't had the original as a guide would I have been able to write it?

Thank god though for grey and miserable Bournemouth in August or the story may never have been written.

Sarah Mac said...

And because it was going to bug me I've edited it. :)

K.D.Storm said...

You did a great job on this. The more I read of everyone's post the more nervous I get.

Sarah Mac said...

Thanks KD, I love all the different approaches people have taken with it. Once I'd decided on mine it became a lot easier but the prospect was pretty scary!

Car said...

I love your paragraph - and to think YOU were nervous *pfft* did you struggle trying to find different descriptions for piece? (I did... I admit to pulling out the thesaurus several times LOL)
From the few entries I have now read, I love how everyone has taken a different approach with the prompt, there is some great work coming out!

Sarah Mac said...

Thanks Car. I've got to admit to turning for help when I was looking for the opposite of opaque, I just couldn't think how to describe it.

Anne said...

Fantastic Sarah. I think I'm the one who should be nervous. I've rewritten mine with 'Carla'. My piece this week might be like comedy relief more than anything else. LOL It'll be posted tomorrow.

Anne xx

Sarah Mac said...

Looking forward to reading it Anne. Carla's story has really got me captivated. xx

Stephanie said...

I actually prefer your words than the orginal paragraph!! You did an excellent job with this prompt. The imagery you use is dead on and I could feel the essence of each word.
Nice work! :)

Sarah Mac said...

Thank you Stephanie, it's much easier to like the image I've created, I certainly prefer it.

I'll always be in awe of Geralds words, so glad you liked mine :)

Jodie Ansted said...

Great job, Sarah! I think you did really, really well with this exercise. :)

Laura Maria said...

Absolutely loved your word choice. I think yours was just as great, or even better, than the original. Also, the positive spin worked splendidly.

Eloise said...

I really enjoyed your take on it. Well done!

Lene said...

It was hard wasn't it?

I think you've done a great job here. It's really well written and I love your positive spin. Well Done!

Sarah Mac said...

Thank you Jodie, Laura Marie and Eloise and yep, really hard Lene. Everytime I say that Gill is getting meaner or the prompt is getting harder she steps it up a level so I'm going to stop saying it! :)

Adam said...

I wrote a lengthy comment on my phone on the bus yesterday and erased it by accident before it posted. Grrrrrr...

Anyway, in brief, I think that you did a brilliant job and the idea of switching the mood of the piece without losing its identity was great. Well done!

Adam said...

Oh and I also said in the comment that never was that I don't know that book. If you didn't label which was which I wouldn't know what the original one was. So that shows how good a job you did.

InkPaperPen said...

This was awesome, Sarah! I agree with Adam, I only vaguely know the book but if you hadn't mentioned it, I wouldn't have known which was the original. This really is an excellent exercise. I wish I had made it clearer, instead of freaking everyone out! Pretty pleased that you went ahead with it.

Gill x

Sarah Mac said...

Thanks Adam and Gill. I keep wanting to say 'read the book' to people, in fact, read ALL of his books :) I'm pretty passionate about his writing (you may have picked up on that).

I think you'd really like him Adam given the posts of yours that I've read. He's brilliantly descriptive, incredibly funny and his take on life and people is unique.

Got to admit Gill, you did freak me out a little with this one more because it's such a lot to live up to. I think giving people a free rein on how they interpreted it worked pretty well though, there are lots of different styles and takes on it all making good reading. x

Andy said...

Hi Sarah! First of all, I'd like to thank you for correcting the use of my word. I should have search for the meaning of the word first before using it. I have to practice my English more often.hehe

With regard your writing, oh Sarah it's wonderful!Really. You were able to surpass the descriptions that the original paragraph has. Such an admirable piece.

Smiles,


Andy

Sarah Mac said...

Thanks Andy, I really did hesitate before making the suggestion as it wasn't that your word was wrong just that the context wasn't quite right. Your English is excellent!

Glad you liked my attempt :)

Jayne said...

Both paragraphs are extremely evocative-but I also prefer yours. Love the positive spin on it :)

House of Prowse said...

Yes, love the imagery and think this is my favourite so far this week! You've done very well

Lisa said...

Nice work Sarah! Yours makes mine look dull! lol

Sarah Mac said...

Thank you Jayne, HoP and Lisa and yours isn't at all dull Lisa, I liked it and as I've said, I can really identify with it too! :)

asampler said...

You conjure up a a pristine summer's day so well. I particularly liked your last sentence. Lovely, smooth writing.

Sarah Mac said...

Thank you AS :)

Sif said...

Oh dear Sarah - you'll probably cringe now, but I mean not harm! - I actually enjoyed your paragraph more than the original! It was far more accessible to me! It still had the mood of the first, the setting of scene and the transition of season. The style was quite similar, but in some way your images were more accessible to me.

Sarah Mac said...

Thanks Sif :) I think it's hard not to like mine more for the image it creates. I'm glad you felt I kept the style similar and that you could relate to it.