Rewrite of Can I Sleep Over At Justin’s Tonight?

Yes, Mom had to rewrite her whole story about me.  This is what her teacher said about the first draft story.  The story I let Mom publish was about the third draft.

It is effectively a clean-your-room story and even though Manny is active and empowered, Mum seems to dominate, as the clean-your-room topic dominates over “staying with Justin”. Consider whether the real story begins with spread 20-21 – “…oh no…I’m coming over…”. Put the focus on the actual Justin teaching Manny how to do these things – make it fun – make the processes fun — perhaps Justin has funny names for the things that need doing and this helps Manny to remember. But in this version Justin is doing all the work and Manny watching. Perhaps the story should be sparked by the idea that Manny has to pack his own pyjamas etc (and not mention the room-cleaning at all). Then Justin and Manny would pack his bag together, and put in necessary as well as fun things.

Nevertheless I think you have created a strong emotional reason for the room-cleaning which gives the story a strong narrative drive, and have created active characters. I think it has further to go, but it may have potential.

This is Draft #5.  I’m sharing this with all you so you will see that even people who write all the time have to rewrite SO many times until they get it just right.  (Get it right/write?)

Manny's messy room

Spread 4-5

The phone rang.

“Manny, can you sleep over tonight?” Justin asked.

“No, we’re going to Germany.”

“Germany? You’re scared to ask your mom.”

“I am not!”

Spread 6-7

“Mom, Justin invited me to sleep over.  Can I go?”

“When your room is clean,” Mom said.

“I knew it!”

Spread 8-9

Manny stomped into his room.  He kicked the toys.

Crash Boom Crash went the toys.

“Stupid toys!  I want to go to Justin’s.”

Spread 10-11

Manny bounced on the clean clothes folded on his bed!

Squeaky, Squeaky, Squawk went the bed.

Manny found a sack of peanuts under the bed.  He ate peanuts and threw shells out the window.

Crunchy, Crunchy, Plop went the peanuts.

Spread 12-13

The phone rang.  Manny looked around his room. It looked the same.

“Did you ask your mom?” Justin asked.

“She’s going to be sick.”

“Huh? Go ask again.”

Spread 14-15

Manny cleaned his room first.  He shoved clean clothes in the dresser.  He almost shut the drawer.  He pushed toys into the closet.  A truck stuck out the door. He smoothed the blankets on his bed.  A mound bunched in the middle.

Spread 16-17

Manny ran to the kitchen. He smelled chocolate chip cookies baking.

“Can I go to Justin’s tonight, and take cookies?  My room is clean now.  ”

“Let’s check.”

The drawer dropped. Manny’s clothes fell out.

Spread 18-19

Manny sat in the middle of the room banging his head on the clothes.

The phone rang.

“Did you ask her yet?”


“So you can come?”

“NO!  My room is a mess!”

“OH NO!   I’m coming over.”

Spread 20-21

Manny folded his clothes into neat squares.

“Which shirts do you like best?” Justin asked.

“I love blue and red.  I hate striped shirts.”

They put the striped shirts on the bottom.

They pushed the drawer.  It closed.

Spread 22-23

Manny opened the closet.  Cars fell off the blocks and rolled into the room.

“You need a garage for your cars, Manny.” Justin suggested.

“I have an idea. Come with me”

They ran to the garage.  Manny found three boxes.

“Perfect!” Justin clapped his hands.

Spread 24-25

Manny and Justin turned one box on its side and parked the vehicles.  Zoom Zoom  Errrrrrrrrr!

In the big box they stacked big blocks first.  Middle blocks fit on top. Legos filled the empty spaces.  The last box became a library over the garage.

“Would you like to check out a book or video?” Manny offered.

Justin chose two videos and a book.


Spread 26-27

Manny crawled under the bed.

“KACHOO, KACHOO, KACHOO!”  Manny sneezed.

“Want some candy?”

Manny wiped dust off the wrappers.

Justin shook his head.

“We could pretend to fly if you had brooms.”

They ran back to the garage and got brooms and big white sheets.  They became ghosts riding brooms back to the room.

Spread 28-29

Soon they finished.  The room smelled clean.

Manny showed mom his new garage.

He opened the drawer to show his favorite shirts.

Spread 30-31

“What fun you and Justin had!”

“Can I sleep over at Justin’s?”

“Yes, want some cookies?”

Spread 32

Manny and Justin rushed over to hug Mom.

So what do you think?  Does Mom’s story have potential?

5 thoughts on “Rewrite of Can I Sleep Over At Justin’s Tonight?

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