Adaptation

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to adapt my book for serialization on radio. In this post I reflect on the process of abridging, adapting and reshaping an existing narrative (and nerd out about New Zealand’s public broadcaster).

I’ve always been a bit of a public broadcasting tragic. New Zealand’s “National Radio,” as it was known then, was always on in our house as I grew up. They had a kids’ program called Ears that broadcast on Saturday mornings. There were two hosts, Dick and Chrissie, and a strange electronic-voiced character called Letterbox Lizard who read out listener correspondence. I loved it. Each episode featured some chat between the hosts, a mystery sound for kids to guess at home (eg toilet flushing, onions frying in a pan), letters, and most importantly, stories. Stories from all over the world, but especially stories from New Zealand, recorded in the studio by people with New Zealand voices. Stories about kids like me, and kids like the kids I went to school with. These days RNZ’s slogan is “Sounds like us,” and when I was growing up, it did.

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First paragraphs

The past couple of posts have been writing excerpts from my friends in this group. Reading words, especially the words of my friends always helps to motivate me and remember why I am in this group, in this blog, writing at all in the first place. When I feel stumped and generally dried up I often go back and read my own writing. This is often an exercise in ridiculousness.

I sometimes think “Jesus this is terrible, thank god I never let anyone read this.”

But often I will read something and wonder if it was really and truly me that wrote it because I genuinely like it. I’ve gotten most of my short story ideas from writing prompts. These are specific but always somehow warp themselves into my voice and my same themes. Our writing is not intentional in terms of what comes out of us and onto the page. The act of writing and sitting down to work is quite intentional, but if our hearts are in it what comes out of us is quite the opposite. It is free and open and uninhibited, and we can’t stop the bleeding.

Here are the first paragraphs from six of my short stories. These were written when the blood was pumping and the ideas were fresh and raw and they remain some of my favorite paragraphs in the stories. Sometimes a starting point, the moment when we close our eyes and jump, is the clearest and sharpest moment we have. So keep starting. We don’t need to finish quite yet.

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Books We Loved This Year: A Fixin’ To Write Best of 2017 List

Here at Fixin’ To Write we often discuss what we are reading, what we want to be reading, and share book recommendations, so now that we are at the end of our first year of writing here in this space it seems only fitting to share our favorite books of 2017 with you. Not all of these books are new, but they are the ones that engrossed and moved us this year. The list includes something for every reader: fiction, memoir, poetry, and books on writing and health. Whether you are looking for something to read over the holiday weekend or looking for a last minute gift for the avid reader on your list we hope you find what you are looking for on our list. Happy New Year from all of us at Fixin’ To Write!

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