So I was planting some strawberry seeds earlier this week when it occurred to me that stories are a lot like plants. Okay, maybe I’m not the first person to think of this, but it was a new idea for me…
As the gardener (writer) you start with a seed. It might be a character, a setting, an event…big or small (and strawberry seeds are frighteningly small) whatever it is, it’s a good start with a lot of potential. Now you just have to give it the right things to help it grow.
First: plant it in a notebook or whatever electronic writing program you prefer
Next: give it the nutrients it needs to grow (I’m sure most writers would agree that a lot of manure gets mixed into a first draft!)
Then: it will take some time, but eventually it will start to take shape. You’ll notice the stem (plot) getting stronger. Little branches (sub-plots) will start shooting off at different angles. The leaves and flowers will appear (characterisation, setting, dialogue etc)
At this point: you’ll want to do some pruning. Cut away any dead wood, so the story will grow in a shape you’re happy with. Expert gardeners may even graft on a cutting of another plant at this point. If you don’t know what it is your story needs at this point, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for gardening advice from others, but remember the final decision is yours.
In four days time, I’ll be embarking on my first attempt at NaNoWriMo. I have my seed and I’m working on the fertiliser, ready to plant on November 1st. It’s exciting and nervewracking at the same time…I don’t even have a working title yet, and most of my characters are personalities without names, but other than that, I’m ready to go!