A backlog of Hi Susan e-mails prompted me to respond to one. Nina send me this-
I’ve been working on my story for a two weeks. Prior to that I spend months, outlining, plotting but now I feel I want to take it in another direction. Should I throw this one away and start with a new idea?
You’d be surprised how common this is. In fact, you’d be surprised how common lots of writing dilemmas are.
Sometimes it’s not until we’re actually writing our story that we get a sense for its destined direction. It’s one of the reasons I tell my students to just write and not get panicked if they’re not following their beautifully outlined plot.
Characters can take over. Secondary characters can come to the forefront and let you know they want to play lead. Sometimes the act of writing massages the muse and takes the story up another notch or two. Oftentimes, you think of something you couldn’t possibly have considered while just in plotting mode. Most of the times, it’s so much better than you could ever have imagined. A more powerful story is born.
A great example is what I’m working on right now. It’s my 14th book in my Kalispell Shifters series. I’ve had the idea in my head for four years. I thought I knew where the story was going but I was wrong. I started to write it on Monday, worked on it again on Tuesday, and by Wednesday, I knew it had to go in another direction. A better one, a stronger one that sets up the tension between the two main characters perfectly. I did get a sense that this wasn’t going as planned and have been writing long enough to know if I gave it time, my characters would let me know how this was supposed to play out.
Yes, it sometimes means going back and doing some major rewrites, but sometimes, it’s just a simple tweak.
Bottom line is don’t fight it, let it happen, don’t think you’ve lost the plot and keep on writing because you’ll be glad you did.
If you have a writing question (both fiction and non-fiction), you’d like answered here at TWL, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org