The Importance of Flexibility

Just as flexibility is crucial to keep muscles and ligaments in good working order, and to prevent injury, so too is it necessary to remain flexible as a writer. Take, for example, a book I'm working on. During NaNoWriMo 2016 I wrote a rough draft of this book, which began in Essex, England ca. 1640 and ended up in the New World.
After conducting more research (because there really isn't time to whilst trying to write 50k words in one month), I have changed the location of by book--and the plot--a good deal in order to accommodate characters and theme. Had I remained rigid for the sake of plot, my story would have suffered.
Plot is the vehicle through which we explore characters and theme. It's important, but I've never believed it to be the driving force in fiction creation...even if it can seem as though it takes that role for the reader.
Do I regret taking the time to draft out 50k+ words for a story that has so drastically changed? Definitely not. Here's why:
  • I had the opportunity to get to know characters more intimately--their goals, fears, and assumptions.
  • I realized just how much research I had left to do, and discovered what I need to learn to not only make my story credible, but also a vibrant experience for my reader.
  • NaNoWriMo is a fun way to meet other writers!
There is never regret for any amount of drafting, because it's all part of the process. That said, don't let yourself become rigid and overly attached to a particular draft. Tossing it aside might be the best thing you do for your story.


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