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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Weeding the Garden, Weeding the Story

Rich Soil, Rich Plot

Kitty Griffin

Bee Balm and Coneflowers

Okay, so yesterday was my day to blog and I was worn out from gardening. I have gardens everywhere. There’s a huge vegetable garden out by the driveway, a smaller vegetable garden next to the house, one large flowerbed, and beds encircling the house.

As I worked yesterday I began to think about how gardening is like writing.

What does a good garden need?

Rich soil on a plot of earth.

What does a good story need?

A rich plot on firm earth.

You won't get a harvest if you don't pull the weeds, pick off the pests, enrich the soil, and make sure it's watered. You won't get a story if you don't clean the clogs, get rid of extra verbiage, don't nourish your characters and make certain it's edited.

No, a harvest of any kind requires due diligence. 

Waiting to be put up

As you tend the garden, sometimes there are weeds that need to be pulled. As you nurture your story, sometimes there are characters that need to be yanked out.

When your soil gets depleted you can enrich it with good compost, good rotted material.

Sometimes a story drags and you can renew it using ideas from stories that you’ve set aside.

Sometimes there are surprises in the garden, at first you may think it’s bad, but when you realize this is beneficial, you leave it alone.

in the zucchini

Sometimes in your writing a plot twist will shock you. “I didn’t think that would happen.” But as you back away you find that it’s just what the story needed.

All sorts of pests will be attracted to your garden. Some of them are bad for the flowers and some of them can be dangerous to you.

Sometimes a pest appears in your story. A character who is so interesting it causes you to lose sight of your main character. It will take courage to dispose of the bad actor.

Wheel bug on a zinnia, they BITE!

If you’ve done your work, you’ve chosen a good variety of plant, you’ve made certain to keep it nourished and watered, you will enjoy a harvest bounty. If you've done well, you'll attract beneficial bugs and your flowers will glow with color.

If you’ve done your writing, you have a strong character with an interesting problem and a good supporting cast, you will have a sound story.  If you've done well you'll have a story people want to read!

Big fat bee on a marigold

Here is a playhouse for children that I’ve always wanted to try. You need Mammoth Sunflower seeds and Morning Glory seeds (or any other good climber).
Make a shape for the outline of your house with the giant sunflower seeds, setting the seeds so that the plants will be close, but leave a child-sized strip that will be the doorway. Between the sunflower seeds, drop in the Morning Glory seeds, so that as they grow, the Morning Glory will surround the sunflower stalks. By summer’s end you’ll have a secret hideaway for your little ones.

Mammoth Sunflower

An abundance of Zucchini? Here's a recipe.

If you find yourself with an overlarge zucchini don’t worry. Now, if it’s baseball bat size, no, give that one to the compost heap.

In a frying pan heat some olive oil and a chopped onion and some garlic if you like. Grate the zucchini and swish it into the sautéed onions. Cook until just a bit tender. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan, or Italian mix cheese.

If you want to have beautiful cut flowers, grow Zinnias. They are fast. They are east. Nothing bothers them and they are lovely in arrangements.

Zinnia, oh Zinnia!

Now…let me think about that wheel bug. If I were a naughty little boy who somehow got turned into one of these….what do you think might happen?

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