London, UK

If the story wants to change, let it.

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I hope everyone reading is safe and well and making the most of the changing times we are moving through. We are all in this together, and that is one thing that can give us all comfort. The current landscape of the world is something we can bring to our writing. One thing we can certainly all share is that life for every single one of us has changed.

There will come a point when you are writing, I promise you, where the story will want to change. You have been working on an outline moving towards an ending that has spent months putting together. So what happens?

One day we come to our story, ready to carry on towards our planned destination and we find we are on lockdown. This is not the disaster we think it is. Somewhere between our last writing session and this one, something magic has happened. Now, what that magic was will be something different for each and every writer. If we want an umbrella term, lets choose life. It may have delivered a fresh perspective in the form of person, conversation or unexpected event. For others it’s a slight shift in mindset. For some poor authors it’s a knock on the head from your character in the middle of the night telling you they are not happy about the way things are going and you exchange sleep for their thoughts.

So, what do we do? Cling to the story we have created or let it develop into something new. I personally feel it’s a duty as a writer, to let the story change when it wants to. That fresh insight we have picked up or feeling we have been given has come from somewhere, your soul, the universe, your growth.

As writers, our job is to do the story justice, I hit a point in the current novel I am working on where as much as I wanted to resist the niggling feeling that developed into mild insomnia, it was telling me something. That the story needed to change. It took a bit more work, re-writing and a shift in mindset from force to flow, in the end it took the story to the right place. These changes are not always momentous, as butterflies teach us, a small one can be just as effective. Whether its re-working a chapter, or adding a new one, let it happen.

Life is the greatest mirror for the writing process, we think we are going one way and it sometimes has a whole different agenda. When that agenda shows up, adaption is the only way forward. Allowing stories to change gives it a heart beat. Getting fixated on a single ending can make us miss out of everything that it really needs.

A fluid mindset has been a saving grace for me on and off the page. I like to think of fluidity and creativity as best friends. A change is not failure, it is progress. Sticking to one version of a story can keep us prisoners to a one -track mind. Explore the story, let it speak to you, and if it wants to change let it.

So, if and when you feel stuck, take a step back, breathe, make some coffee. When you come back to write, trust the story it knows the way.