As a new author it was important to realize that the first draft is only ever a draft. I learnt to hold words lightly, so editing and restructuring didn’t leave scars – only the thrill of reshaping an idea.
Looking back at the early drafts of Custom Built, there were many problems to overcome. The storyline was humorous, but the theme of ‘camouflaging behaviour’ was obscure. The original beginning was an injunction for Chadwick “to play nicely with Tiger”. This was a throwback to my own childhood and it coloured the progression of the story and took it in the wrong direction. Time to delete and rethink!
The sequencing of events didn’t work either. Moving from the easiest skill to the hardest one didn’t help the flow of the story or the theme. It was all back-to-front. Time to adjust and rethink again!
The tone of the story was wacky, too. With only two characters, it was easy to compare and contrast the abilities of Chadwick and Tiger; but that required evaluation and analysis which inferred making a judgement, e.g. Originally, Chadwick says to Tiger, “Your head is too big. Your legs are too short. Your tail is too weak.” Bronwyn raised the question: How can you compare and contrast without being judgemental? Wow! That took the wind out of my sails! How? This required even more flexible thinking.
I changed the structure of the story. The questions were rephrased. The dialogue was altered by softening the text and changing who said what. But then the humour disappeared. Back to the drawing board! Problem-solving requires even more flexible thinking!
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Answers: Blog 5 – Chelsea’s Junior X-Word:
Eight-letter = strategy