fiction / revising / short stories / writing

How Many Stories in One Story?

In an hour of desperation, I caved and just wrote a new first paragraph.

It is entirely different from the paragraph I lost. Unrecognizable! It takes the story in a whole other direction, opening up new worlds and possibilities, or at least sentences to have on page 1, which (this is just how I write) will change the rest of the story because everything is reliant on everything else. And this brings me to the heated question:

How many possible ways could I revise this one story? I mean, will this—can it? should it?—ever ever end?

I’m mystified. I’m not even sure what story I’m writing now.

I feel like I could revise myself into a whole new person.

4 thoughts on “How Many Stories in One Story?

  1. This is amazing! It’s happened to me (sort of) before. That time this past winter when I thought of THE PERFECT THING for my nano story and then couldn’t remember it in the morning…my head clouded with scary music instead…

    For weeks I kept chasing it, thinking to myself that I would surely remember as I went along. Well, I didn’t. And my new favourite daydream is thinking how it would have changed the story.

    Things like this- like your missing brilliant first paragraph- make me think that it’s so dreadfully awesome to be a writer. We have little modular realities in our heads.

  2. There was no excuse for my stupid loss of a brilliant paragraph a few weeks ago. I was using Microsoft work and switching it to another file and thought I had completed the transaction and deleted the original. No computer crash excuse. And I hadn’t carefully read the paragraph so I’m not sure it was brilliant, only that it had important information I can’t recall for my story. Very, very sad.

  3. Isn’t it fascinating? The options are infinite!

    Though it’s a little less fascinating and a little more annoying when that all-changing paragraph comes in the middle of a chapter that then requires a complete rewrite, which I seem to run into often🙂

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