The Right Path

The premise behind the musical If/Then is that along the way, we are offered many choices that impact the eventual outcome of our lives.

If you think about it, from the time we are old enough to reach for a toy, we are making choices. Granted, playing with the elephant instead of the giraffe is not going to change our lives that drastically, if at all.

Once we are in school, however, things we do or don’t do affect grades, which eventually determine whether or not we go to college, which college, which major, and whether or not we leave with a degree or certificate.

The same is true when we begin dating. The people that we choose, or in many cases, choose us, may lead to forever relationships. Once in those relationships, we might buy a house, move to a new state, have children or dogs or cats. The possibilities are endless.

In the play, the main character spends her life questioning her decisions. What if she did this, then that would have happened. Or not.

Your characters are faced with decisions as well. The question is, after they choose a path, do they spend the rest of their lives thinking it through? Or just go with whatever happens along the way.

Which path, in your case as author, creates a more interesting story? Which has drama? Cathartic moments? Conflict? Which causes your character to grow, to change?

Select one of your favorite characters. Think about the story you have written. Make a list of potential changes that could be made. Then rewrite, at least one small portion, incorporating those changes.

When you are finished, compare the two. Which version is the most compelling?

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