Tuesday, May 29, 2012

There's A Lot To Be Learned From Scooter

He knows what to do on a day off.

I, on the other hand, didn't go to the movies like I planned. Instead, inspired by  a brand new interview I gave, I began the polishing part of the rewrites of The Shade Of The Moon Third And Definitely Last Effort.

I spent two hours (the length of the movie I didn't see) on the first two pages. You may recall, if you committed my March 29, 2012 entry to memory, that things were kind of clunky on pages 1 and 2. I had to introduce the readers to Jon and his entire family, while covering everything that had happened in Life As We Knew It, The Dead And The Gone, and This World We Live In. That's 900 pages of pain and suffering summed up in a couple of paragraphs.

Here's the part I particularly didn't like:

            Dad died the same as so many others had died, of exhaustion and hunger and vulnerability to disease. Jon had travelled from Pennsylvania to Tennessee with him, with his whole family. They’d journeyed together, Dad, Lisa and Gabe, Mom, Jon’s brother Matt and his wife Syl, and Miranda, Jon’s sister. Alex, Julie’s brother, came with them. They rode bikes, walked, even drove whenever they could. It was a journey of a thousand miles, and it took months, months of cold and fear and hunger. Months of seeing bodies strewn on the highways. Months where the boy Jon had been grew into the man he now was. 

I admit I liked the bodies strewn on the highways, partly because I do love my dead bodies, but mostly because "strewn" is such a high class word. But all those names clomped together in a single paragraph...Even I, who thinks every word I write is a masterpiece, knew that stank.

So I rewrote those two pages. It is a bit of a concern that each page took an hour to revise. Assuming I work seven days a week, at two hours a day, it'll take me five months to finish the rewrites. And I'm not going to work seven days a week. I'm not even going to work on Friday (I'm going to the movies instead).

But in the meantime, here's the newly revised first two pages. Let's hope the other 298 don't take quite so long!  


Morgaine said...

My cats agree with Scooter! My dogs, though they are "working" dogs (in that they come to work with me every day) also agree with Scooter. The cats, admittedly are much lazier and sleep pretty much all the time. Except, of course, in the middle of the night when we want to get some sleep. As all cats do I am sure.

The first two pages sound good! I look forward to reading the rest of the book!

Rebecca said...

Oh, what a treat! Thank you for sharing these pages. If you ask me, it is a job well done. Two hours well-spent!

I've been known to spend the same amount of time or more on one line in a picture book.

Heather said...

Love it! I also really like your comparison between the before and after passages. It is useful and definitely interesting.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Good morning and thank you to Morgaine, Rebecca and Heather-

Picture book texts are tough. I know that because in my long and not particularly storied career, I have a grand total of one published picture book. I would have happily written more, but I never developed the skill.

I'm off to do my rewrites. Well, dawdle a bit and do my rewrites. Okay, dawdle a lot and do my rewrites.

But I will do my rewrites, I promise!