Saturday, July 11, 2015

After "To Kill A Mockingbird"

Did you read the first chapter of Harper Lee's, "Go Set a Watchman?"  I'm did and now can't wait to get my copy of the novel when it comes out Tuesday.  (Amazon says it's the biggest pre-order since Harry Potter.) 

From the Wall Street Journal:

In 1957, when she was 31 years old, Harper Lee submitted her first attempt at a novel to the publisher J.B. Lippincott. 
Titled ‘Go Set a Watchman,’ it was set in the ’50s and opened with a woman named Jean Louise Finch returning home to Alabama. 

Ms. Lee’s editor found the story lacking but, seizing on flashback scenes, suggested that she write instead about her protagonist as a young girl. The result was a Pulitzer Prize-winning classic: ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’

If your teens (or even middle schoolers) are writers, this is a good story about trying and then regrouping and having someone who can see that kernel of talent in your work.  Meaning, don't give up or TTT (Things Take Time).  


n said...

This is more interesting to a teacher (me) than you know. I did read this today in the NYTimes and I was thinking how much this supports the writers' workshop curriculum that we use in classrooms today. The curriculum emphasizes small moment writing. Really digging in and stretching a small moment. And that's what Lee did. Her very smart editor sent her home to remake a panoramic story into a refined and fleshed out small moment. And didn't that make a powerful difference?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, N, we can never know what little pushes, encouragements or viewpoints might help a kid forward but we can just try.

And especially help them to know that NO one's writing is good out the gate. Everyone needs help.