One of the biggest road blocks I used to have in my writing, that has only been reduced to an obstacle over time and practice, is the notion that But, no, it happened that way.
It's fiction; it did not happen that way.
In fact, it didn't happen. You made it up. Remember doing that?
I had the great fortune of growing up with a mom who was an incredible editor. It was painful at times, but I learned more than I probably even realize from her corrections. I'll tell more of that story another day. I bring it up now as an illustration.
I remember the story that it really came to a head during. It was a short piece featuring a teenage MacGyver-type named Bridge Flag. I wrote the story out and was really pleased with it. In one passage, my mom thought something didn't work , and asked me to change an entire sequence of events. I was used to major revisions, but usually that were about writing quality.
Boy did we get into it.
"I can't change that. That's how it happened" -- "You can't change the facts. The facts are the facts!" -- "I'll rewrite it, but I might as well just get rid of the story if I have to change what happens, because it's not the same story."
Dang. Admittedly, I was fifteen or sixteen at the time, but even today I find myself having this battle with myself internally. I don't mind making major rewrites. I love revision, in fact, and major revision is just that much more fun. But I get a hitch in my step when it comes time to think about changing a "fact."
There was some truth in what I told my mom. Changing events that are directly in the plot line does, in fact, change the story. Here's the thing, though: the story is make-believe.
Sometimes, even as fiction writers, we too often approach our writing as if it were reporting. A plot isn't something that actually happened, though. You may feel like you just watched it unfold and let their characters do their thing, but you didn't; you made the story up. That means you can change it.
And, frankly, if it's not a good enough story, then you should.
Ultimately, when the rage subsided, my story was a lot better, and someday I will revisit Bridge Flag and may get his stories in publishable shape. If I had resisted, though, on the grounds that the plot was unchangeable, because that was how it happened, I would just have a broken story.