Wednesday, 27 April 2016

W is for What if...

There are few things that can get a writer light up more than the simple question: "What if…?" If you're the least inclined to make up stories, those simple words opens a wormhole of possibilities.

It can be fashinating. If I'm in plotting phase, I can't get enough of those words. I imagine all twists and turns my idea can take, explore any crazy opportunity my mind creates.

It can be overwhelming. When I start outlining I need some way to grab all of these stray thoughts and compile them to a semblance of order. That's the point when I start to ignore new things worming their way in.

It can get annoying. While writing the first draft, I still allow new and previously not imagined things to occur. But I keep them sparse, and evaluate them before incorporate them. Otherwise I would never finish anything.

It can get dangerous. When the first draft is complete I don't want any new things to seep in, but sometimes they still do. That's the point when I have to make a concious choice: go with the new one (which likely means I have to write a major part of the draft all over again) or firmly put the new one away in another file (to use in another story).

The first one can be OH, so tempting. Sometimes I've done it and the new story is better. Sometimes I've done it and it was just a waste of time and effort (and maybe a sign that I was more interested in not finishing than rewriting).

The second one is easier, but will carry with it an eternal worry that the story would have been better if I had changed it.

When this happen, I pause. I make an outline for the new version. Then I leave it for a few weeks (trying to not even think about it). When I come back and analyze the two versions… Compare plot points, stakes, character development.

After that I can usually decide which one I want, and go on writing it without regrets.


  1. 'What if' can take us on an endless journey.

    Alex's Ninja Minion

  2. Yes. And that is purely amazing!
    Thanks for stopping by :)