Thursday, April 29

A Writer's Green Thumb

Every spring Fred Meyers has Fuschia Saturday in which you can bring your own pots (or buy them), buy your plants, and then they will plant them in your pots with rich California Gold soil. So, each year, my friends and I soldier the elements--we've yet to have a sunny, warm fuschia date. The weather gods always provide plenty of wind and rain for this event but that won't keep us true Northwesterners inside (or even our transplanted Jersey Guy).

This year my baskets are looking better than ever before. My friend said hers are the best she's ever gotten too. One of my baskets already has buds on it. I'm really hoping for fuschia explosion this year.

And I can't think of anything I've done any differently. They're hanging in the same place. And if anything our weather's been milder (as in colder, cloudier, and wetter) than previous Aprils. Honestly, I can't believe it's almost May by looking into the sky. I haven't been able to mow for two weeks because the sun goes into hiding on my days off. Good for writing, bad for my dandelion infused back yard.

So since I can't actually get out in my garden right now, I thought I'd contemplate the writing lessons I've learned from gardening.

Like gardening, you want your story to have a good, rich soil. For writing that would be the ultimate GMC. Goal, motivation, conflict. Without those firmly in place, your story's not going to take off, it'll be a wimp little twig of a story. Great ideas don't always equal great results. It takes a little bit of working the roots, fertilization, and sometimes even deadheading to get the opitimum result.

When you pick your plants, how often do you take the wilting ones, or the one bloom versus the five bloom? So, why would you not want to have healthy, well rounded characters? Pick your characters as you would your plants, because they fit into your garden of words. And if one's distracting your reader, you may need to prune it back. Don't be afraid to cut.

And most importantly, tend your characters frequently. Like good plants, your characters need to be fed and watered daily. Even if it's just a conversation you have with your main character as you're driving. Keep them talking and doing. You cannot neglect your characters or you run the risk of them shriveling up and blowing away with the winds of change. And nobody wants to lose a good character.

Okay, I'm going to end this with something I've seen other writer's do, with a word count. And each Thursday I'll update it and hopefully, we'll watch it grow. Because isn't that what we all want, to grow?

Bix count: 18,400 words.

1 comment:

  1. Great analogy, Margie! I love planting every spring ... but I'm not the greenest-thumb in the book...I once killed a cactus. So no great advice on what to do differently.

    I like talking to my plants (and characters) from time to time to kind of see what's going on with 'em. Boy that sounds a little more psychotic than I planned!