See This Story Grow - Scholastic

See This Story Grow - Scholastic

See This Story Grow Watch the beginning of Because of Winn-Dixie take shape before your eyes! Almost every author writes different drafts, or versions...

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See This Story Grow Watch the beginning of Because of Winn-Dixie take shape before your eyes! Almost every author writes different drafts, or versions, of a story in order to get it just right. Here you can see exactly how author Kate DiCamillo changes the beginning of her story over the course of five drafts. Read what Ms. DiCamillo has to say about her progress at each stage. Table of Contents First Draft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 2 Kate DiCamillo, on the First Draft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 3 Second Draft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 4 Kate DiCamillo, on the Second Draft . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 5 Third Draft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 6 Kate DiCamillo, on the Third Draft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 7 Fourth Draft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 8 Kate DiCamillo, on the Fourth Draft . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 9 Fifth Draft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 10 Kate DiCamillo, on the Fifth Draft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 11 Images Courtesy of the Kerlan Collection, University of Minnesota Libraries

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Because of Winn-Dixie: See This Story Grow

First draft

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Because of Winn-Dixie: See This Story Grow

Kate DiCamillo, on the First Draft It’s weird to look at this again after so many years. It’s kind of like visiting a town that you used to live in when you were a kid: things seem familiar, but strange, too, kind of like a dream. This first draft is how I do all first drafts: single-spaced, capital-free, light on the punctuation and full speed ahead. In a first draft, I concentrate on moving forward and trying not to panic. What amazes me about this particular first draft is how present Opal’s voice is. She was there, from the beginning, wanting desperately to tell her story. Of course, I’ve got her name wrong. I call her Bea in the first draft. At least I got her last name (Buloni) right, and that makes me happy.

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Because of Winn-Dixie: See This Story Grow

Second draft

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Because of Winn-Dixie: See This Story Grow

Kate DiCamillo, on the Second Draft When I start on the second draft of something, I switch from single-spacing to double-spacing. That way, I have room to write comments to myself, and it’s easier for other people to read it (although I normally don’t share a manuscript until the third draft). I can tell, looking at this second draft, that I’m definitely on the right track, but what is most evident to me here is that I’m making the mistake of “telling” as opposed to “showing.” That means, as I struggle to find my way through the story, I explain things too much and it slows the story down. Also, I still don’t have Opal’s name quite right. And I seem to be hung up on using the word “serendipity” (who knows why?), but I’m definitely making progress.

Fisrt Draft

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Because of Winn-Dixie: See This Story Grow

Third draft

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Because of Winn-Dixie: See This Story Grow

Kate DiCamillo, on the Third Draft Now I've got a title (Because of Winn-Dixie) and also, I put my name and address and telephone number at the top of the first page. This means that I was thinking that the story was working and that I was bracing myself for putting it out into the world — I’m starting to feel like I’m doing something right. And I’ve finally got Opal’s name right, although I don’t know exactly how it happened. So much of writing is like walking down a dark hallway with your arms out in front of you. You bump into a lot of things. You pick things up and then put them down. I guess I picked up a couple of names for Opal and put them down and then finally I picked up the right one and thought, “yes, this is it.” This draft is almost exactly, word for word, how the chapter opens in the published book.

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Because of Winn-Dixie: See This Story Grow

Fourth draft

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Because of Winn-Dixie: See This Story Grow

Kate DiCamillo, on the Fourth Draft This draft is particularly interesting to me. At this point, I was in a writing class and had read the third draft out loud to my fellow students, and this fourth draft incorporates some of their suggestions about how I could make the story better. This explains why the title is different. People were confused by the title Because of Winn-Dixie. Most people where I live (Minnesota) had never heard of Winn-Dixie grocery stores, and so I thought if I changed the title to Whistling for Winn-Dixie it would make a little more sense because people would connect it with “Dixie” and the South, etc. Also, my classmates felt that I should explain up front why Opal was going to the grocery store rather than her mother going or her father going, and the opening paragraph in this draft tries to explain that. This is how the manuscript looked when I sent it to Candlewick Press (my publisher). The comments written on this draft are from Jane Resh Thomas, my teacher and my friend (she’s the “JRT” referred to in the sticky note). She was the one conducting that writing workshop.

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Because of Winn-Dixie: See This Story Grow

Fifth draft

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Because of Winn-Dixie: See This Story Grow

Kate DiCamillo, on the Fifth Draft This is the draft that I wrote after Candlewick accepted the manuscript (yippee) and my editor (Kara LaReau) had given me her suggestions about how to make the story work. I went back to Because of Winn-Dixie as the title, and the wording of the opening sequence is almost exactly as it was in the third draft. Progress is hard to measure in any creative endeavor, I think. It’s often a matter of instinct, of feeling your way through what works and what doesn’t. The only thing I’ve found that works is to keep on working and not to expect that you will get it right the first time.

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