To change or not to change….I wish I knew the answer (or maybe I do)

For the past few months I have diligently been working on revisions to my first MS (Thus why I have been exceptionally bad about posting). Hard won editing victories, often overshadowed with frustrations at how much more I have to do.

Holes are filled, subplots strengthened only to find out the filling just screwed up my timeline. BTW, who just turned off the timer to my ticking time bomb. That was not allowed! What do you mean it was me? Umm, OK then. Back to rewrites.

Sigh. Editing is hard (although I am one of those weird people who actually likes to edit).

Revisions are harder.

I have learned so much in this fabulous class by Heather Howland that I now think differently. That’s a good thing. It is however, often hard to implement on stories you have already written. This is my difficultly. I see where I would have done things differently had I known what I do now. The changes can be made, but sometimes as writers we cringe at the thought of changing or even (GASP) eliminating a section of the story we have worked so hard to create.  I am pressing on and I will eventually polish my story into the gem that I believe it can be.

But maybe not right now.


For some people that is a nasty word. For me it has become an inspiration. Because I now think differently, new story ideas are flowing and with much less difficultly than my current MS. Now I am faced with a choice. Which road do I follow?

Do I struggle through and finish what I started with the class, or do I let that sit for a bit and taking what I have learned, allow this new idea to take flight? What would your answer be? 

I gave in the other day just to see what would happen. 

WOW! The idea not only changed and took flight, it soared!

In one hour, I had a logline, a pitch, a twitter pitch, and even a rough cover blurb. I could see the beat sheet parts clearly, and even had a general outline of the plot.

I NEVER see the plot of a story until later. I’m a pantser, I didn’t think I ever could start with more than a general idea plot. I bow with a flourish to Heather! You have managed to teach a die-hard pantser at least the basics of being able to plot. [Insert much hurrahing here]

So where do I go from here? That is a hard decision. So I let my Muse decide. I am continuing to work on my MS draft, but letting the new story evolve, grow and write. If one day the MS draft is being stubborn, I give my MUSE free rein with the other one. Either way, I write and THAT is the important point.

I find the new influx of creativity is actually helping with the edits and revisions. I am letting go of the dead weight in the old MS, sometimes rewriting entire scenes from scratch, just as the trees let go of the changing leaves. Scenes that needed rewriting. Scenes that until I started letting new creative ideas flow, I refused to change. Now I see what needs to go and what needs to stay. There is a new beauty emerging. Different, but good. Maybe (probably) even better than what was there before.

It’s empowering.

Don’t be afraid of change. Embrace it.

Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s hard. However, you might be surprised by the beauty of words that develop from that change.  As the giant oak and maple trees around my house change from green to vibrant orange, they unleashed new energy and display beauty previously buried within them. Energy and beauty that I can use to release my own hidden words.

Change. Is. Good.


3 thoughts on “To change or not to change….I wish I knew the answer (or maybe I do)

  1. twlogden says:

    Hi Kira,

    Great post. I am at a crossroads myself wondering whether I should take a manuscript I’ve completed and do extensive revisions or break it apart into three separate story lines that I discovered were woven into the original plot. It’s hard letting go of something you put so much work into, but sometimes the payoff ends up being much more satisfying. As a writer I want to hold on to all of my characters, dialogue, scenes, and chapters, but if I want to tell an engaging tale, I must have the discipline to keep what I absolutely need and to let go of that which ultimately holds back the story.



    • Kira Decker says:

      It has been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn.

      Just a trick that might help you. When I first started editing, it killed me to cut from my MS. It didn’t matter that I knew it needed to go. It was my work, my words. How could I “delete” anything. So I didn’t.

      I cheated.

      I created an “Old Files” folder. Whenever I cut something during editing, I would paste it to a blank Word doc and then save it with a name of “chapter # cuts”. It helped me trim the excess while soothing the ego. (Yes we all have them, even me 😉 )

      It made it easier to let go. My MS became stronger and as time went on, I needed to do it less and less. I still do it when making major revisions. I will probably never use the cut material, but knowing that I have it, gave me the courage to do what my story needed.

      Keep going Toni! Don’t ever stop.



      • twlogden says:

        Eureka! I knew there had to be a solution somewhere. Thanks Kira. Worst case scenario, if I can’t use certain scenes in the current manuscript, they may be of use in a future manuscript.



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