How Do We Grow Fiction?

by Kimberly A. Cook         (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

Saturday I ventured out into the garden for the first time this year to weed, clean and organize. Going about my tasks it struck me this is a lot like what I do when it’s time to edit my fiction first drafts. As I plow through the pages there are things which are fine and then passages which must be weeded, transplanted and some put in the yard debris cart.

Wreath wire or fiction book structure?

Wreath wire or fiction book structure?

A rare gorgeous 77 degree sunny day, I made sure to work my two hours and then save time to read in the lawn swing. First I had to assemble the lawn swing, always fun. One final chore before book break time involved recycling my Christmas wreath from the front door. Don’t judge. Wanted to make sure it was dry, okay?

The process of unwinding the florist wire from the small Douglas Fir branches and the pine cones took longer than I expected. In fact, I had to come up with a plan to corral all the wire. Started making a ball and away the unwinding process went.

As time wore on, it became apparent to me we should hire the folks who assemble these wreaths to rebuild our national infrastructure. With this type of workmanship, our roads and bridges would be good for eons. Thought about quitting at one point, but blast it all I needed to finish it.

When the last bit of wire was off the frame and I’d put the big circle in the metal recycling bin, the ball of wire was the size of a grapefruit. Kind of pretty, too. Took it over to the back porch step to take a couple photos; I never know what I might use in my blog or for a project.

After the wire ball’s Vogue fashion shoot, the above photo is my favorite, complete with wood knot holes on the steps to add character. Wandering over to the herb garden, I discovered the Apple Mint was sending up new shoots so I wouldn’t need to buy one this year. Another good garden surprise, like the life cycle of a writer; even if you try to stop writing, you can’t and you start composing again.

While I sat swinging on the lawn swing enjoying a Kate Carlisle mystery, it dawned on me. Not only does the garden mimic creating fiction, but so did the ball of wire. We fiction writers think we know where we’re going when we start a novel, but on the journey our fiction ball of wire takes a shape all its own.

Fiction becomes a collaboration of our imagination, muse, life history and divine guidance. Whether writing fiction or tending a garden, editing, weeding and keeping at it are skills needed to excel at both trades. Feeling stuck with your fiction writing? Get thee to the garden!

1 Comment

Filed under Fiction Writing

One response to “How Do We Grow Fiction?

  1. This comparison is so fabulously true. (And if you’re going to use an “ly” adverb, use it big!) Right down to “thought about quitting…” How many times do we writers consider bagging it for the grass on the other side of the fence? Have green thumbs will travel. (:

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