At my house, we are in “deep winter.” Cold winds thrash the trees; bleak, grey skies hover close. The snowstorm has passed leaving behind grey choppy mounds of snow.“if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” (Shelley) comes to mind. I don’t like winter; I look forward to Spring and flowers. That prompted this rant.
Creating eye-catching, tantalizing fiction is like creating a stunning, colorful garden. Both require a little inspiration, digging in to finish the creation and both produce satisfaction for the creator and the audience. Both require that dreadful chore: weeding.
Weeding my garden is on the same plateau as editing my newest novel draft. Both are tedious, repetitive job which require little creativity. However, both are necessary in creating an eye-catching rose garden or a page-turning novel.
Without weeding, my garden is cluttered with unsightly dandelions, scrub grass, and unnamed green vegetation, which chokes my roses. All the gangly grasses hide the true beauty and colors.
Without editing, my chapters are clogged with “skunk words” (such as, well, very, so many) or vague wording or dull dialogue, which clouds meaning and detract from character’s emotions.
I love the creation both in building a garden and developing a story.
Each spring, I walk the perimeters parameters I marvel at the buds and shiny green leaves. I am partial; I have roses all over our property. The buds haven’t opened and the leaves haven’t unfolded, but the potential is thrilling.
The initial rush of creating new characters, and their stories is exciting, exhilarating for me. Observing my characters bloom as their traits, quirks and histories are developed is the best part of writing. Just as watching flowers grow from tight rolled buds to blossoming, brilliant display of colors. With my writing, my fingers fly across the keys as each fresh scene unfolds. With the gardening, I fly from bloom to bloom.
BUT after the flowers bloom, the spent blossoms left behind are unsightly. No longer is it a place of beauty and creation, but of decay and deterioration. Weeding, deadheading and feeding those deteriorating flowers give new life to the garden.
After the initial throes of delight in creating a new story and characters, the problems surface as an author rereads the glorious scenes previously admired. Just like the weeds poke up their ugly heads, the skunk words jump up as though highlighted with a yellow marker. Just as a gardener must attack and vigorously weed and prune, the writer must pull out the skunk words and prune back wordy phrasing.
I hate weeding. It is the least favorite thing about gardening. I put it off until I cannot stand the sight of poor neglected plants. I hate editing. I put it off until I cannot stand the garbled wording on the page.
Both must be done and done with care and dedication. It is hard work and the final handiwork will be eye-catching.