Sunday, June 5, 2011

Growing Ideas

Sometimes we try something new and it doesn't seem to work. That happened when I tried to join Networked Blogs back a while. Tonight, I discovered that a few more steps were involved than I previously thought. I'm in the process of verifying the blog, and, once that's done, it ought to be posting on Facebook every time I come up with an idea to blog.

Writing can be like that. You come up with a wonderful idea, but you can't seem to make it work. That has happened to me many times. I think many writers struggle with this problem. What we have to realize is that an idea is not enough to make a good story. The idea is just the starting point. Without hard work, the idea fizzles out, leaving the writer frustrated.

I like to compare writing to gardening. Ideas are like the seeds we plant, hoping a wonderful story will grow. Before we begin to create the story, however, we should prepare the ground: set the stage with characters, places, plotlines. Then we plant our little idea and water it, watching it grow. If we've properly laid the groundwork, it starts becoming a good story. Unless we're careful, however, weeds can invade our story ground. The pernicious weed of Too Many Subplots can choke our story. Going Off On A Tangent can twist our plot out of recognition. The Secondary Character can take over the story, causing unhealthy growth. Like a good gardener, we must recognize the weeds when we see them and root them out. If we protect the plant from weeds and from outside attacks, we should be able to grow a good story!

Happy Gardening! er, Writing!

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