As a writer, my vision for a piece often changes. I may begin with a strong idea in my mind, and on paper, of what the project will be. However, part way through I often find inspiration elsewhere, or my characters take me down a path I hadn’t anticipated.
In my current project, I went from having the idea of six lead characters and including full back stories for each, to paring down to one main character. I feel that this focus will lead to clearer growth, a deeper connection to the character and her motivations.
I also have faith that I can share important aspects of the other characters’ past without going into as much detail. A part of me is sad that I may not use lots of writing, some of which I actually think is very good. But on the bright side, I see it as crucial foot work in getting to know these characters.
So as I shift focus in my manuscript I can’t help but feel excited about the new direction. I think it lends itself to more action and suspense. Instead of feeling like the reader is getting bogged down with too much additional information, the main plot can really take center stage.
I am curious to know how other writers deal with these changes. Are you easily able to switch focus? Are there feelings of regret? Where do these changes come from?
For visual artists it may be more difficult to change focus. It could mean completely scrapping a piece and starting from scratch. Writers have the liberty of backspace.
It’s easy to look back and feel nostalgia for characters or chapters that we end up deleting. But at the end of the day, if it makes the piece more effective and dynamic then it was worth it.
I look forward to hearing your input and happy writing!