Lois Lowry's Blog

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Posted by Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry
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on Sunday, 23 May 2010 in Uncategorized

Here's Ingrid (or Ilsa, as she is called in the film*) looking down from the wall of the restaurant Casablanca, in Harvard Square, where we had dinner last night with friends before going to the theater.

*remember that; it will serve you well in NYT crossword puzzles

Ingrid

From dinner we went to the theater where the new musical called JOHNNY BASEBALL was thoroughly enjoyable. And now (Sunday morning. Yes, I work  on Sundays) I am back at work on the story I mentioned yesterday.

I can't tell you too much about this story or where it will end up (by which I mean where it will be published). But because a number of people have expressed interest in the process, I will describe that I know where the story is headed. My task is creating the 3000 words that will take it there. Yesterday I copied the first paragraph and printed it here on this blog. Here it is again:

"It occurred for the first time in a hospital in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, but no one noticed except a maintenance man shoving a broom down the hall at 3 AM. He was startled by it and drew a quick breath, but he had fallen slightly behind and still had the whole OB/GYN floor to do before he could take a cigarette break. So he looked away, nudged a gum wrapper loose from the metal leg of a molded polyurethane chair by the hall window with his broom bristles, and continued methodically on without saying a word. And within the hour he had forgotten it entirely." 

Today I began to proceed from there, and from the few paragraphs that followed, but first I went back to the opening and did some re-writing. Here is how it now reads:

It occurred for the first time in a hospital in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, but no one noticed except a sleepy maintenance man shoving a push-broom down the hall past the nursery at 3 AM. He was startled by it and drew a quick breath. But he had fallen slightly behind in his work and still had the whole OB/GYN floor to do before he could take a cigarette break. So he looked away, nudged a gum wrapper loose from the metal leg of a molded polyurethane chair by the hall window with his broom bristles, and continued methodically on without saying a word. And within the hour he had forgotten it entirely.

Very small changes. The addition of a word here, a phrase there, and some changed punctuation. Nothing major. But for me, it helps to tweak those small things before I go on. Each day I go back and revise what I've done before going on.  When I reach the end---in 12 pages---then I will re-examine the entire thing. One of the things I look for is whether it begins too slowly, since I  have a tendency to do that: to tiptoe in, instead of plunging.  If so, I will lop off parts of the beginning, and this paragraph may shrink, or disappear completely.

But for now, it remains.

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Comments

Guest
Melissa Monday, 29 November 1999

Please tell us: how did you finish the border on the afghan? And what tools did you use to do it?

Guest
Lois Lowry Monday, 29 November 1999

No special tools. I just had to get a 60-inch circular needle, then knitted the border on. Easy!

Guest
Miki Monday, 29 November 1999

The afghan is stunning. I love the colors. Congrats on getting it finished.

Guest
Jane Monday, 29 November 1999

Wow, you have a blog...and you actually update pretty frequently!!
Well, since I've found you on the interweb, I might as well tell you that I will be 30 in 5 days, but I just spent the evening (and most of the day) reading _The Giver_ for the first time. I got it for my friend's son who just made 11, but I had to read it (gently) before I wrapped it up. I'm so glad I did. It was pretty amazing.
And nice afghan! I'm knitting some legwarmers right now. I can't believe that only took you two months.

Guest
Kate Monday, 29 November 1999

The afghan is gorgeous! Makes me want to make one :-)

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