The Disney movie Tangled is a staple in our house. It’s got great characters, just enough backstory, and a little bit of romance. Perfect.
As I was watching the bonus features (cause I’m cool like that), I realized that it didn’t emerge from the storytellers heads fully formed and glowing with brilliance. Nope. The animated opening went through three major revisions. And by revisions, I mean they were telling the same story in three completely different ways.
In all three versions, Mother Gothel had the magic plant and the king needed it to save his wife. That part of the story never changed, but the king’s approach to getting the plant (stealing versus finding) certainly did. It wasn’t until the second version, that they introduced a theme that ended up playing a major role in the movie.
I watched this as I was facing a huge revision of my own, and it really inspired me to make bigger changes. Yes, the main elements — the characters and motivators — stay the same, but the path the characters take to reach their goals may be different than you initially intended. If you step back and really reevaluate the story you’re trying to tell (like: would you feel so sorry for the king if he stole the plant?), you’ll probably realize a better way to get through the plot points. And with each revision your story will be a little closer to perfect.
If you want to watch two of revisons, you can find them here: