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Making Big Corrections In Your Story

Have you ever had that moment when you’re writing a story and you get like… a third, maybe two thirds, maybe even almost the entire way through and you are like… uh actually.

I was wrong.

You’ve set up a character development and it hasn’t gone according to plan, so what should have been a straight forward development has become rocky and uneven and just at the end of the day not working?

This has JUST happened to me.

I think it happens more often than most writers admit to.

And the problem is that when it happens you:

– Feel super crap about your writing abilities

– Feel SUPER overwhelmed because now you have to go back and fix it all

– Feel even more SUPER overwhelmed because you think you have to start all over again because it’s been wrong the whole way through

– Throw your story in the bin because it’s too hard.

Have you ever been here? Because I have.

Here’s the secret though, BIG corrections may feel big, but they’re actually not. Generally big corrections can be fixed fairly easily so whatever you do don’t panic, and certainly don’t throw your story in the bin.

The important thing to keep in mind when you feel you need to make a major correction to a plot line, a character’s development or whatever is to remember that the whole story doesn’t discuss whatever it is you want to change the whole time. Generally it is only a series of conversations or explanatory sequences that need to be adjusted.

It is exactly like Frozen. You know when the trolls remove all memory of magic from Anna’s childhood recollections? They change the circumstances but not the ‘fun’ or the experience.

I have been writing the second book of Dare, and there was this pivotal point where Dare and his friend Bright decided to be entirely honest with one another because both their lives are framed by deception in some way.

How nearly finished the book I have realized I have set this moment of honesty far, far too early.

I realized that they should decide to become friends at one point, and then should decide to be honest far down the track. The issue is that the whole way through there are little knots of conversation about being ‘honest.’

Here’s what I want to do: completely freak out.

Here’s what I am going to do: stop, and finish the story. Write it as I have now decided with the new conversation about honesty and continue on at this point with my ‘new reality.’ then once I have FINISHED take the whole script and high light rewrite points and systematically change and edit out what shouldn’t be there as it doesn’t make sense with the new story.

People try and change everything in the moment. That’s the worst thing because it would be like painting your nails one by one doing all three coats on each finger before continuing. It is better to get it down, then look at the whole thing and figure out what you have to work with.

I hope you find this encouraging… because I need to listen to this myself today.

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One thought on “Making Big Corrections In Your Story

  1. That’s a good way of thinking about massive revisions. Even after making big corrections, the bare bones (or the heart) of your story stays the same; it’s only the overlying structures that get rebuilt.

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