Take pause.

Whether you’ve written a first draft of the facts or are simmering on what truly happened in your mind, take a step back. Once the story is caught in your net, as a writer you have an opportunity to now ask: how could it be made better? What is the theme burning beneath it, and what can I do to feed the flames? Behind my novel, Hit, was the true story of my daughter’s best friend who had been struck by a vehicle in a crosswalk. But the writer in me begged the question: what if instead of a stranger hitting her it was someone she knew? And then I ramped up the tension in my version of the story and made that person a grad student teacher she was crushing on. (It did take two years and several drafts for this plot point to rise to mind.)

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