Each idea you have for a story is like a tiny seed. Not all seeds grow into beautiful plants, and likewise not all story ideas will yield an impressive tale. Still, most seeds are capable of growing, so long as they are properly nurtured.
You plant the seed for your story the moment you commit it to paper or to your computer’s memory. But just as you wouldn’t sprinkle seeds in the ground and expect the best, so you shouldn’t believe that simply writing the story idea will lead to the next line and then the next paragraph, the next scene, and then the full tale.
Seeds need good soil to sprout. The rich dirt that helps your story spring forward are further thoughts in your head about where the tale might go – its characters, their motivations, their conflicts, the plot that plays out these conflicts, the setting upon which this all occurs. The more nutrients in the soil of your thoughts, the greater the likelihood that a story will rise from that initial seed.
Sunlight and water are necessary to keep a plant growing. You can give your story sunlight by opening your notebook or laptop and setting aside the necessary time to work on it. You water your story when you devise dialogue exchanges while standing in line at the supermarket or play out how the plot might turn as you drive your car to work and then apply those thoughts when you next work on the manuscript.
Unfortunately, sunlight and water encourages weeds to grow about your story. These ugly interlopers threaten to choke off your story, depriving it of much-needed nutrition, sunlight and water. Identify and cut those weeds – the life-sucking adverbs, the shaded descriptions that don’t move the story forward, the crowding passive voice sentences – from your tale.
Few gardens planted by novices look perfect. But with each successive year, the gardener’s knowledge and skills expand, and their flowers, vegetables, shrubs, herbs or trees grow to be like those in the perfect pictures that appear in books or online. Likewise, so long as you nurture and tend to your story, it and the future seeds you plant naturally will bloom into a beautiful creation.
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