Archive | Manuscripts RSS for this section

Rewriting and Letting Go


Midwives by Chris Bohjalian tells the story of Sibyl, a midwife whose patient dies duringmidwives1.jpg childbirth, prompting her to perform a C-section to save the baby.

However, the heroism is not rewarded. Sibyl, instead, is sued by the state for voluntary manslaughter. The story is told from Sibyl’s daughter’s point of view. The narration is candid, raw, and surprisingly touching. I was surprised that the author was male who was writing about one of the oldest professions in the world.

In an interview with Amazon, Bohjalian tells of the pain of rewriting and why he doesn’t read his books after publication.

There certainly is a finality in a book, of not being able to change anything once it has been printed, unlike a Web post that can be updated or taken down. Books are forever.

Anything is better than wondering (yet again) whether a particular metaphor for the color of blood is sufficiently precise; whether an exchange between two of the characters is plausible; or whether the opening is powerful or the ending is satisfying or why anyone who doesn’t share my last name would ever bother to read my new book.

I get this way whenever I finish a novel.

The truth is, I have never reread any of my books once they are between hard covers. It’s too painful.

Read more in Chris Bohjalian’s AmazonConnect blog.