There's a bit of writing advice I hear a lot around the interwebz, and it's something with which I agree -- with a caveat.
First, the advice: As writers we shouldn't let anyone change our story from what it's meant to be. In other words, we should write our story the way that's right, and not worry about word count, genre, audience, etc.
There's value in this, in the idea that it's our story, and that we should always have full possession of it. We shouldn't automatically be swayed by every comment or critique of our writing; all opinions are not equal. A critique is only as valuable as what we do with it. A brilliant critique is only brilliant if it helps us transform our story in a positive way. A terrible critique is only terrible if we let it sway us in the wrong direction.
As a writer we have to take ownership of our writing. Its path is ours and ours alone to plot -- all committees are advisory only.
But... here's the caveat: It's easier to accept our story as definitive, as finished, than it is to explore change.
Destiny has many faces. And so too does our story, at least in the realm of possibility. The danger of the above writing advice is that the process becomes static. We see our story as fated - we see it as we first imagined it, as we wrote it out on the page. And, look, it's on the page! Finished! This concrete thing! Yes, we can tweak some sentences, the dialogue here and there. But the story is done. This is the story as it's meant to be, written in stone.
But what is that, exactly? What is meant to be? Is any story simply meant to be one thing and one thing only? We have a vision, certainly. But visions are malleable things. We ourselves often change, and our stories can change with us -- but only if we are open to the possibility, the idea that fate has many forms.
It can be an excuse for us, you see -- Oh, I can't change this, it's not what was meant to be. But that meaning is always wholly within us, and is bound only by what we can see and imagine. Yes, some things will lead us astray from what we want. We have to guard against this... but without closing ourselves off to the possibility of change, even deep change.
Destiny has many faces. I touched on this with my guest post for Nathan Bransford a few weeks ago. I think what I wanted writers to take away was the idea that you could see the story from within, that you could write in new doors and rooms to any story. Will they be right? Some yes, some no. But if we're never willing to make the attempt we're tying off our own possibilities, the power of our own imagination.
God built the world, and on the seventh day He rested. And on the eighth? Perhaps things started to evolve, to change - perhaps God started an endless revision in search of a final story.
Are we any different? The story is before us, always running into a future full of possibilities. We can cut things away, story elements becoming extinct, living on only as ghosts of memory. Yet the story remains, a fluid thing, open (as always) to possibility -- eternity is merely a story of continual genesis.