I recently came across an old notebook, the one I was using when I wrote the first draft of my current WIP (the WIP fondly known as "The Story That's Trying to Kill Me") (more on that another day). Along with some utterly embarrassing story snippets that I thought back then were pure gold, I found a list I wrote called "The Important Points of the First Ten Chapters."
The reason I made this list was because I had just realized my story started at the wrong place. I'd read a blog post that suggested making a list to see what really needed to be included and going from there. So, with that brilliant idea, and my equally brilliant and creative list title, I did that.
It's been over a year since I made that list, and my beginning is finally (hopefully) where it should be, but on a list of over twenty important points, guess how many are still in the story?
Four. Yes, four little things that have survived the hacking and slashing and ugly weeping of six more drafts. It was amazing to me to see how much my story had changed. And it's not just changing, it's improving. Very encouraging.
It made me think of this post by Natalie Whipple about the malleability of stories. Things might feel so important and key to our plot, but if they're not working out, you know, it's okay. It's okay, guys.
Now. I'm going to chant that to myself as I go back to kneeling in front of my laptop, begging this WIP to cooperate. Malleability. I got this.