Always Another Story

dog-2350955_1920Recently, I’ve been writing short books for an educational publisher. There are no advances or royalties for this kind of writing. It’s flat-fee, work-for-hire writing and the writer gets a lot of input from the editors and series “authors” who, in this case, are big-name educators. This kind of writing can be an amazing teacher. Today’s lesson is worth sharing: there’s always another story. As writers, many of us bite onto our original ideas like Pit Bulls. We get that idea in our teeth and we will shake the darned thing to death before we’ll let it go. When you write “for” an editor, rather than “for” yourself, you have to be willing to let go of your original story. If you’re willing, you’ll be given a gift: another story. First comes the disappointment. What? My perfect idea wasn’t perfect for her? Next comes the reread. This stuff is good! Why didn’t she find it perfect? Then the tinkering: If I move this part here, what will happen? What if I cut this part? Change this personality trait? Figure out this character’s motivation? There are so many questions to ask of a story, but if you ask them, if you actually cut that part or move that other part or figure out what’s motivating that character, you will always find another story to be told. And another. And another. Stories are like kaleidoscopes. If you turn them just a bit, you’ll see a whole new picture, one that’s just as mesmerizing as the first, or maybe even more so!


About kimgriswell

I'm an author, an editor, a writing coach, and a workshop leader. I spend my days asking questions and looking (or listening) for answers, and thinking up ideas for new stories to write for my favorite audience: kids! I guess I'm just about as curious as Rufus Leroy Williams III, the intrepid pink hero of my picture book series from Sterling Publishing, is persistent. Did you know that in 5000 B.C. people blamed 'tooth worms' for their cavities? Neither did I until I developed THE HAUNTED OUTHOUSE for the Bathroom Reader's Institute. Turns out, ancient dentists filled the wormholes with metals like gold or silver. Except the Aztecs. They used a mix of iron, water, and belly-button lint. As you'll discover by reading RUFUS GOES TO SCHOOL, RUFUS GOES TO SEA, and RUFUS BLASTS OFF! I believe that reading opens up worlds for young people. Books did that for me, and I hope my books will do the same for today's kids.
This entry was posted in A Writer's Life, About Writing, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Always Another Story

  1. Kathy Doherty says:

    I like your simile, “stories are like kaleidoscopes . . .”

    Liked by 1 person

    • kimgriswell says:

      Thanks, Kathy! I was showing my granddaughter how to look through one the other day and it came to mind when I started thinking about how stories shift and change to reveal something totally new!


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