Recently, I’ve been writing short books for an educational publisher. There are no advances or royalties for this kind of writing. It’s flat-fee, work-for-hire writing and the writer gets a lot of input from the editors and series “authors” who, in this case, are big-name educators. This kind of writing can be an amazing teacher. Today’s lesson is worth sharing: there’s always another story. As writers, many of us bite onto our original ideas like Pit Bulls. We get that idea in our teeth and we will shake the darned thing to death before we’ll let it go. When you write “for” an editor, rather than “for” yourself, you have to be willing to let go of your original story. If you’re willing, you’ll be given a gift: another story. First comes the disappointment. What? My perfect idea wasn’t perfect for her? Next comes the reread. This stuff is good! Why didn’t she find it perfect? Then the tinkering: If I move this part here, what will happen? What if I cut this part? Change this personality trait? Figure out this character’s motivation? There are so many questions to ask of a story, but if you ask them, if you actually cut that part or move that other part or figure out what’s motivating that character, you will always find another story to be told. And another. And another. Stories are like kaleidoscopes. If you turn them just a bit, you’ll see a whole new picture, one that’s just as mesmerizing as the first, or maybe even more so!