So, this post has been a long time in the making. I have been reaching and reaching for something that has been out of my reach for a long time. Why am I stuck? Why can’t I write, carefree, to get that first draft done?
The answer started forming when I saw this article: Six Authors Look Back on their First Novels.
Honestly, just the title of that article got my gears turning. You are not only allowed to look back on novels with displeasure, also with a bit of nostalgic pride, but you can look back and see things you’d want to change.
Sometimes, when I read stories, I see different endings. I don’t necessarily agree with how the story unfolds–perhaps a different combination might be stronger, carry the character further, test them better. It’s not even my work and I see different ways the story could go. Different ways I might have preferred. Different ways that would change the tone of the story.
That thought reminded me of James Patterson. Okay, let’s face it, James Patterson produces more books between his solo work and his co-writing than anyone else. At work, I see his middle grade list, his young adult list, his various thriller lists… But one story comes to mind.
When I first read Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment (Book 1 in the Maximum Ride series), I reviewed it for my freelance gig. Curious, I sought out what else he had with Maximum Ride. What came up int hat search was that Max was riffed from a book where she had previously appeared: When the Wind Blows. I read it. It was a totally different story, different audiences, even slightly different essence of Max’s character. But I couldn’t help but be intrigued by how a very prolific writer had loved to write a story so much that he had successfully published multiple versions.
It’s allowed. You can tell the best story you can at the time you tell it. Does that mean the story will not come back to haunt you and want to be revamped? Nope. But it means you’re allowed to.
Don’t drown in the possibilities of what you are writing. Don’t get stuck wondering which path is the “best” path because readers will often see others. You just have to write one. Let that one story possibility live. You can always pull it down and redo it. You can always rewrite it to get the pacing better. There is no one best way to write a story. There is only your way, your choice at the time you are writing it. And yes, it might change.
So just write it.