Before and After: The Evolution of Story Ideas

Alice Munro Quote

Wouldn’t it be interesting to see before-and-after photos of all the ideas that ever sparked a story — to hold our intentions and inspirations up against our final manuscripts and see the evolution? It’s amazing how much an idea can change before an author is through with it — how things grow and shift as characters take on lives of their own and plotlines complicate our best laid plans.

“Sometimes I get the start of a story from a memory, an anecdote, but that gets lost and is usually unrecognizable in the final story.”

― Alice Munro

It’s okay if your writing starts to take you down a path you weren’t expecting. It’s okay to let go of passages that are no longer serving the larger story. It’s okay to revise your first draft until you hardly recognize it.

So long as you stay open to possibilities within the world of your story, you’ll be in a position to create work that is as fresh and engaging to you as it is to your readers.

What about you? How many of your story ideas are drawn from real-life experiences that morph into something else? How much of your staring material remains when you’ve finished writing and revising?


Takeaway Tweets

It’s amazing how much an idea can change before an author is through with it. Tweet This

It’s okay if your writing starts to take you down a path you weren’t expecting. Tweet This

It’s okay to let go of passages that are no longer serving the larger story. Tweet This

 
We’d love to hear from you! Where do you get your ideas? How much of your fiction contains elements of nonfiction? Let us know in the comments below. 

 
There’s much to be said about the craft of writing. That’s why each week on the Abbott Press blog, we’ll take a look at what some of our favorite authors and thinkers have to say about this challenging, fulfilling and sometimes mystifying art. We hope these discussions will help you to further refine your own ideas about writing and to achieve new insights into your own creative process.
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