Today I am spending some time at my parents’ house. My dad has always been a gardener. This year (much to the humor of his friends who razzed him about it) he put up a fence around his garden to stop the deer from eating all of the plants (the deer had a really good veggie Smorgasbord last year, us, not so much). And it is growing by leaps and bounds. He cultivates his plants and takes care of the soil.
A writer can learn a lot from a gardener. A manuscript can be compared to a garden. A writer has to start with a good, rich foundation (soil) and the ideas and characters (plants) grow from there. The plot allows the story to move forward, much like food and water help the plants grow. And when the story is done (or the veggies are ready to be picked) it is shared with other people who enjoy the ‘fruits’ of your labor.
Another lesson that a writer can learn from a gardener is the idea of rotating crops and and planting new vegetables. You don’t want your stories to stagnate. How many times have we loved the first few books in a series and then as it continues we don’t feel as excited anymore by the story? If you haven’t been able to put your finger on why that is, I would bet that it has to do with the fact that the characters and plots continue to be the same and do not change or grow. In a garden where vegetables are planted in the same place each year they lose their flavor as the soil loses its nutrients. So remember to rotate those crops! Change up your story and keep your readers interested….
Dad’s garden – isn’t it a beauty!