You’ve seen the movie Groundhog Day, right? The 1993 classic, with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell? It’s the story of TV meteorologist Phil Connors, who relives February 2 over and over again—until he gets it right. In honor of next Tuesday’s Groundhog Day, we’re talking about writing do-overs. What would we do differently? And what would we keep trying until we get it right?
I’ve never seen Groundhog Day. Well, not all the way through. I always tune in every Feb. 2 for the TV marathon, intending to make it—once and for all—from beginning to end. But somehow I always get sidetracked and sign off, figuring I’ll catch the next round. Or else I fall asleep, probably from seeing the same scenes over and over.
I don’t have anything I’d like to “do over,” writing wise—although one of my characters probably wishes I’d rewrite some of her scenes with the hot detective. But hey, Andie MacDowell went on to a successful acting career after having her voice dubbed over by Glenn Close in her first movie. And she was the perfect choice for Groundhog Day, because she hasn’t aged a minute since. So there’s always another chance to fix things. And I’ll watch the movie this year. Again.
When I worked as a writer on the TV show “Cold Case” I co-wrote an episode about Japanese internment camps. Overall, I loved the episode. They even created a mini internment camp to shoot some of the scenes, which was amazing to see. I did have one regret though. Cold Case is about, well, cold cases and every episode would start with the main character Lilly learning about the case because of some cool reason—well, every episode except for mine! We could not figure out a cool reason for Lilly to learn about the case. I remember pitching what felt like a million possibilities to my boss and she rejected each and every single one. Ultimately, we decided that Lily would take the case…just because. So in my own personal Groundhog Writing Day, I would definitely want to do over the beginning of that episode.
There are two small things I did in my first mystery, Plantation Shudders, that bug me in a big way and I would totally change if I had the chance. Maggie Crozat is my protagonist and she shares a lot of page time with her beloved grandmere. When Maggie talks to said grandmother, she calls her Gran’. That apostrophe is meant to connote that it’s an abbreviation. Well what a pain in the a’! I’d give anything to lose that ‘ in future books but alas, I’m stuck with it. The other thing I’d love to change is the result of me being a new, timid author. The copy editor declared that the proper shorthand for a bed and breakfast was B and B, not B&B. All my instincts screamed, go with B&B, it’s much more familiar to people. But no, I let myself be intimidated – in book one, that is. Because guess where Maggie works in book two? That’s right… a B&B.
Readers, what would you do over—writing or otherwise?
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