Lois Lowry's Blog

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IN the beginning...

Posted by Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry
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on Thursday, 09 August 2007 in Uncategorized

So here's the thing. I agreed to do the beginning of a story for a section of Weekly Reader called "Weekly Writer"...in which a professional writer starts a story, kids continue it over several months, paragraph by paragraph, and eventually the professioal writer finishes it up. Stephen King has done one. Walter Dean Myers. R.L. Stine. Others. And yesterday I set out to write my "beginning."

I always start a story, or a book, with a little introduction of character(s) and a sense that something is wrong and that something - at this point unkown, perhaps a little mysterious - is going to happen. (That is, after all, why a reader turns the page).

"It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened." That is the "beginning" of THE GIVER, and it does what I just drescribed, in the space of one sentence.

Another begining, this time of GATHERING BLUE:

"Mother?"
THere was no reply. She hadn't expected one. Her mother had been dead now for four days...

Different characters, different situation, same process.

So I began to write my story beginning for "Weekly Writer." In fact, I wrote it. Then I read it to myself and thought: Hey. I'm intrigued by this. I don't want anybody else going on with it. This is mine. This may be a book.

So I kept it. If, in the future, you ever hear that I have published a book called UNDER THE BARN...well, that is the one that started out as the opening paragraphs of a story that someone else was supposed to finish.

I wrote a different beginning for "Weekly Writer" and e-mailed it off before I mused too long about it or the same thing might have happened again.

It seems incomplete not to attach a couple of photos, so here are the last of the pink hollyhocks, as well as the last few high-bush blueberries.


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Comments

Guest
Kelsey Monday, 29 November 1999

Sigh. I read that bit of news and thought, "Oh that's too bad," and moved on with my day. I shouldn't be surprised by the fallout, but goodness! That is sort of the blessing and the curse of the internet.
I won't presume to speak for all your loyal readers, but I, for one, enjoy the conversation.

Guest
Pat Erickson Monday, 29 November 1999

Dear Lois,
Ah, but there is good as well here! I have to admit I saw the your info on a Harry Potter blog. However, this brought me here...back to you. (I loved reading your books to and with my children). I had forgotten how much I loved your work.
Your blog made me smile (never start the winter without fuel...I grew up in the Adirondacks) and also reminded me that my child, loves to read. Perhaps, now that he is a bit older, I can still help him enjoy life in this way....again.
Stay warm in Maine. Enjoy your company.
Pat
P.S. The dogs will wear themselves out....I'm pretty sure:)....my life's passion and work surrounds dogs...I am a vet.

Guest
Tina Monday, 29 November 1999

Actually, I'm glad your comment got snapped up by Harry Potter sites. I was idly flipping through one while sick with the flu, and discovered your blog. While reading your entries, you mentioned Autumn Street, which was one of my favorite books as a kid and the library copy often found its way to my house. Suddenly eager to dust off more memories, I started crawling around the web for information. I found bibliographies of your writings, and it reminded me of so many of your books that I loved as a child and read to near-memorization. I was thrilled to find out you have a blog and are still writing voraciously, and I want to check out all those new books that have somehow happened in that blink of an eye when I turned into a grown-up. (scratch of head) How did that happen again?
Anyway, back to my rambling point, the internet has a short memory and hopefully there will be some more serendipitous good from all this. Thank you for writing so many books that brought me happiness, and I hope to read more of your works soon!

Guest
Phoebe Monday, 29 November 1999

Quick comment from a "lurker." What you spoke of in this blog post, I do that sort of thing all the time. I expect to continue doing it -innocently and inadvertently getting myself into trouble- for years to come. It's comforting to know that I am in good company!

Guest
sandi Monday, 29 November 1999

Oh dear.
like the first commenter, I read it and thought, shame, we have to wait...then giggled at your reference to the celebration-of-life reference.
It reminds me so much of my middle school class where I am talking to one student, someone else overhears, then misinterprets what I was saying.

Guest
Molly Monday, 29 November 1999

Incredible how people can take someone's words and turn them into something of their own invention and cause such a stir. Are we THAT bored/in need of "news"/excitement these days? I don't see how you are at fault for the craziness that ensued, so no need to apologize.

Guest
Siobhan Monday, 29 November 1999

I immediately thought of Anastasia- like the time her friends thought Sam was crippled? This just totally seems like a situation she would find herself in.

Guest
Asma Monday, 29 November 1999

If it makes you feel any better, like many of those who commented above, I am quite grateful that your comment was quickly smeared across the internet. The Giver is one of my favorite novels (which says a lot as I'm an avid reader) and I'm pleased to see that it's coming out in movie form (although I'll be one of those people throwing popcorn at the screen and yelling if something is drastically different). I can't thank you enough for writing that book!

Guest
Kirsten Monday, 29 November 1999

Hello Ms. Lowry,
As has been said, I found your blog due to the Harry Potter websites, and though I too was saddened to hear of any delays, I was more thrilled to hear a movie is going to be made of one of my favorite books by one of my very favorite authors! I'm sorry for the fall-out that has occurred, and hope it hasn't caused you any undue stress. I'm excited to read in your post "Poster Art, and Snow King" that yet another idea has popped into your head. I've been working on my "first" novel for a few months now, and haven't gotten past page 15. I'm stuck. How do you get your wheels to turn when lodged in a muddy quagmire?
Anyway, best wishes to you, and I hope the time that passes until The Giver is made into a movie goes by quickly, as now I'm too anxious to wait!

Guest
Brandi Monday, 29 November 1999

Wow, what an honor that something I write will appear on your little, tea-room blog, when your work has shifted the course of my life. But I just want to thank you for your comment, if I may speak for millions of Harry Potter fans around the world, we have never been upset by accidental news. However, I know that it may have gotten you into trouble and I am sorry for that. On the other hand, I was listening to a Harry Potter podcast, and they announced this news-- Attached to your name. They then read an excerpt of your apology, and your threat to move to the outback, and I had to act. :) Harry Potter moved mountains, but you shook the earth. Let WB deal with the issue, your duty ended with your apology. Now go and be brilliant and write something breathtaking. That's your specialty.

Guest
Kate Monday, 29 November 1999

I'm another long-time fan who stumbled on your blog thanks to this newsflash, so don't be too sorry! And I must say that now I hope I get a chance to meet you around Cambridge one day--I moved to the area last summer. Thank you for all your lovely books...

Guest
Nicole Monday, 29 November 1999

I found your blog in the drama but have loved your books since elementary school. I remember the first time I read the Giver, in fifth grade. Since then I have read it (and your other books) many times over; but the Giver (and secondly, Gathering Blue) holds a special place in my heart. I was so pleased to see that there is going to be a movie made of one of my favorite books, even if it is delayed. I am also a Harry Potter fan, but as another comment says, I was mearly passingly interested in the news,it is sad that it has blown out of proportion. Also As Brandi commented I heard your appoloy being discussed on a hp podcast, they were very repesctfull. - also lastly, I just read your "mail? do I read answer mail" and I feel so badly, some people are just awful. Thanks for writing such awesome books and sharing them with us!

Guest
Sury Romero Monday, 29 November 1999

Well Mr. Lowry,
you are not alone. Stop apologizing. We your fans totally understand you. If the film producer understood, why can't everyone else. I was disapointed the movie has been delayed. As a Special Education Teacher, I like to read the book with my students and then show them the movie or vice-versa because they are visual learners. We are in the process of finishing "The Giver". They liked it and were looking forward to the movie. Unfortunately, they are going to have to wait. Best of Luck!

Guest
Rebecca Geary Monday, 29 November 1999

Dear Ms Lowry,
I stumbled across this after I just finished your book, and searched to see if a movie had been made. I would have loved this book as a child, and now enjoy it as a mother of two. I look forward to sharing "The Giver" with my 8 and 11 year old daughters. I am glad they'll have time to read the book before the movie comes out! Keep up the terrific work and writing. . .

Guest
cj Monday, 29 November 1999

Ms. Lowry,
I cannot wait for your movie.
That's all.
You're fan from Canada,
cj

Guest
Megan Monday, 29 November 1999

I read this for the 1st time because my students are reading it. It is an awesome book, and I looked for a movie. I was disappointed to see it wouldn't be out for another 2 years. I also checked for a sequal, for which there is none. It is a great book, and a sequal would have made it even better.

Guest
Briana Rumney Monday, 29 November 1999

I would like there to be a movie created... because this is one of the best books ever!! it might be confusing in some parts, but for the most of it, it is awesome!!
thanks for the writing of the book.

Guest
Fonzie Monday, 29 November 1999

Is there ever going to be a movie? I loved reading your book so much in my 8th grade year, and want to see the movie badly. But the last Harry Potter movie is almost out, so it shouldn't be too long from now.
-Fonzie

Guest
Ashley Nicely Monday, 29 November 1999

No worries. :o) People are fickle, and fortunantly so is the internet.
I would like to say that I'm eagerly awaiting the movie. The Giver is, and has always been, my very favorite book. I really hope that David Yates can do it the justice it deserves.

Guest
lois Lowry Monday, 29 November 1999

Alas David Yates is no longer attached. he has to do the next two Harry Potters and it means he is tied up fro a long time to come.

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