Posts Tagged ‘student writing’

Students Groan Over Rewriting

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

This question from Fatima:

Did you like rewriting as a student? Or did you start liking to rewrite as you became an author? Students at school start groaning when we have tp rewrite as essay or story.

I didn’t like rewriting as a student. But usually I wasn’t ASKED to rewrite as a student. (Which means the teachers weren’t asking enough of me!) I only liked rewriting after I had been writing awhile. This is very common. In the beginning, rewriting is VERY difficult. It’s only after practice that it becomes fun and addictive.

I don’t blame students for groaning at all! Most of the time it’s because students don’t know HOW to improve their writing. Another reason is that they may think their story is just fine the way it is. Another reason is they have tons of other work to do too.

I KNOW students have tons of other work to do. However, the “just fine the way it is” reason is NOT true. Lois Lowry, author of THE GIVER and NUMBER THE STARS, says she never reads her books after they are published. Why? Because she starts rewriting them even when they are in book form. She isn’t satisfied even with her award winners! That is a typical reaction from a writer. We are never satisfied our work is good enough and ALWAYS want to improve upon it.

Writing Exercise: Rewrite a story of yours. Ask a trusted teacher, writing friend, or critique group member to read and offer suggestions.
When can you put in the main character's thoughts, reactions, or senses to slow down an important moment?

When does your story need exciting action? Does your story have a complete beginning, middle, and end? Does your character have an epiphany? An "ah-ha" moment where she learns something? Doesn't have to be huge. But your protagonist should change in some small way.

Exercise 2: Enter a contest for a genre you like to write. This is a good way to help your rewriting skills, especially if it has a word limit and your piece is too long. Then you will discover the fewer words, or writing tight, is the best way to write. Each word needs a reason to be there.

Note: I am under a time deadline at the moment so I am rushing to write this blog. I first answered this question under the comment section VERY quickly. Next, I copied and pasted that answer here. I reread it and I thought how I could improve upon my writing. This is a quick example of rewriting. If I had MORE time, I'd rewrite it ten more times!