Sometimes, when I’m trying to impart some wisdom to my children (“aw Dad, not again”), I emphasize the importance of making good choices. Do your homework instead of play video games. Eat vegetables instead of donuts. Use a pair of scissors instead of a chain saw.
Making good choices applies to writing fiction, too.
As a writer, you’re the one in charge. You make the decisions—about the words, about the scenes, about the characters. Each novel is the product of the choices you make.
- Should your protagonist confront the villain alone, or wait for back up?
- Should the sidekick be a funny one, or an incompetent one, or maybe an animal?
- Should the heroine really go down into the basement armed only with a flashlight containing weak batteries?
All along the way, you must make choices, and there are infinite possibilities. Just remember that the decisions you make will dictate future events. Of course, the challenge is making the choices that will lead to your desired outcome.
I’m in the revision stage of my current WIP. As I go through and change some of my original choices, I’m amazed by how many little threads need to be altered accordingly. Talk about a ripple effect!
At least in fiction, you can go back and fix some of your stupid choices. Too bad there isn’t a DELETE key in real life.