Writing Wrongs

February 24, 2006

So Andrew had to write a story for school. And he did, about two of his “guys,” the original Mr. Big Arms and Mr. Big Legs, the beginning, where the twins take a bath in the toxic waste and eventually beat up their kidnapper (as first graders). If you’re a boy and you’re nine (almost ten, Mommy), I’m thinking this is about all you need as far as plot and character development go.

He had a draft. All he needed to do was smooth a few things out per teacher suggestion and then write the final copy.

That would be write the final copy in cursive.

Then it was the crying, and the wailing, and the gnashing of teeth. To quote Andrew:

Whoever invented cursive writing was DUMB!

Then he discovered revision and editing. We looked at what the story needed, and what it didn’t. Like the exchange between the two brothers where they hurl nine-year-old-boy insults at one another. Funny? Perhaps. Necessary? Not when you hate writing cursive. Oh, the advantages of writing tight.

Once he got into it, we had fun. He took some of my suggestions, and a few he gave me a look and a barely contained eye roll, translation: only a grownup would think that was funny.

In the end, he received an “achieving standards” for mechanics and an “exceeding standards” for composition. He was surprised, although I told him he shouldn’t be. He wrote a darn good story, used those suggestions that made sense to him, and ignored those that didn’t. I told him I know lots of adult writers who wouldn’t do what he just did.

It was neat to see him “get” the idea that the final draft doesn’t have to match the first, that you can change things around and make the story better. Come to think of it, maybe I learned a few things too.

Like avoiding toxic waste, even if it does give you super powers.

Charity Tahmaseb wrote at 1:54 p.m.

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