Write on Wednesday Exercise 14 – The Mighty Mighty Rewrite…
I did a workshop with literary author MJ Hyland, who teaches 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.
This paragraph is a rewrite of the first paragraph from God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. I first read this book when I was much too young, read it again when I was older because I knew the book contained secrets, and a third time when I was older still because I remembered loving it. I have never since read a book three times – I am a sucker for novelty. So I thought I would rewrite the first paragraph to try to understand why it was this book, in particular, I read three times.

The Might Mighty Rewrite: January in Echuca is a hot, stifling month. The days are brittle and dry. The river shrinks and magpies furrow for worms in brown papery grass. Plants fade. Flowers die. Bored flies hum in the stagnant air. Then they sun themselves against clear windowpanes and die, flatly baffled in the sun.

God of Small Things ~ Arundhati Roy: May in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month. The days are long and humid. The river shrinks and black crows gorge on mangoes in still dustgreen trees. Red bananas ripen. Jacfruits burst. Dissolute bluebottles hum vacuuously in the fruity air. Then they sun themselves against clear windowpanes and die, flatly baffled in the sun.

 

The thing about copying a paragraph, or even transcribing a paragraph of someone else’s work (particularly a classic, or a Booker Prize winner), is that you really start to analyse the structure and style used. When reading these great works,  you don’t analyse them – and that is what makes them great reads – the words fall off the page and seamlessly enter your consciousness, and your subconscious, and you just sit there thinking you are in another world.

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