Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How Growing #Seedlings Is Very Much Like #Plotting by Karen Rose Smith

With the beginning of a new growing season, I've been planting tomato seeds. I concentrate on heirloom tomatoes because their flavor is supposed to be richer and sweeter. I ordered several varieties of seeds from cherry to plum to fine slicing tomatoes. What I love about the heirloom tomatoes is their history. The one I planted with the richest history and most elaborate one (Marianna's Peace), is a variety that the seedlings pop up quickly and with hardy determination. The leaves are deep green, growing with vigor. They will grow into terrific plants, with tomatoes that are pink-hued and can weigh over a pound. These seeds have been cherished, protected and promulgated since the early 1900's. Care and thought and lots of emotion have touched these tomato seeds.

Novel plots are very much like heirloom tomato seeds. An idea takes root in my mind like that tiny seed in the proper soil with the right amount of heat and light. Some ideas don't take root. They don't gather energy or germinate and no book grows. But others start with a conflict that develops into a plot or a character who generates conflict, or an issue that rolls through circumstances or a crisis that comes to a head. Suddenly conflict seems to draw light from the characters. The plot absorbs the proverbial "water" or energy from ideas generating ideas, developing into scenes, all of it uniting to produce a book. The richer the idea, the better it will grow. The more care given to the original premise, the better it will grow. The more emotion the characters generate, the further the plot is pushed. A rich storyline is rooted in the history, knowledge and research behind the plot. Plots and seeds are very much alike!

©2014 Karen Rose Smith

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Deborah Blake said...

I am a serious gardener, and I love heirlooms too.

I often think about editing a manuscript as a kind of gardening. It really hurts to go out and thin all those beautiful little plants when they are growing to closely--they're so pretty and green and could grow up to be something wonderful. But if you don't pull some of them out, the entire patch doesn't do as well. Ditto with revising a manuscript. Some of those extra words have to go, no matter how pretty they are, so the ones that are left can really shine.

KRS said...

It's amazing what can be cut. Every year when I trim back my roses, I remind myself they'll bloom even bigger and prettier. The same with words. Thanks for stopping by.