When I was a newer writer, I often believed that my initial ideas for plot and character and setting were all the right ones. What flowed organically from my brain must be the purest, most correct form of the story. I really, honestly believed this. And because I believed this I thought that any big changes would mess with the "natural flow" of the story.
Well, now I think that's a bunch of crap.
I think it was my way of trying to avoid the true work that comes in creating a novel: Revision. And I'm not talking tweaks, but the big changes that are a part of every novel's journey, whether they come in drafting or edits.
The truth is, your first ideas are probably not your best ones. I believe Laini Taylor talked about this on her blog once, that what your brain first decides is usually the easiest way out, the most contrived, cliche, trope, whatever. It likely contains the least action and the most telling. It often features a boring or repetitive setting.
Looking at the novels I used to write with my whole hippie "just follow your instincts and stay true to the organic story" philosophy and the novels I write now? I can tell you 100% that what Laini said was true.
I don't let stories just "do their thing" anymore, and you know what? I'm pretty sure that's why I finally sold a book. Because I took the reigns—I thought of better plot lines; I changed characters; I rewrote chapters; I moved things around and cut things and added things. I put away impatience and fear and let my mind wander to other, better possibilities. I listened to people who knew better than me. I took my raw ideas and molded them into something bigger.
I didn't just tell a story. I became an author.
And it's really hard for me to even refer to myself as an author, but as I've been writing this new novel I see how differently I approach the task. I'm not just shooting out into the dark hoping things will stick. I know what makes a good story, and I work with my idea until I find that sweet spot. I am in control, and I suppose that's what I always imagined an author to be.