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Writing is like... Gardening

Writing is like gardening. Sure, everyone’s heard about killing their darlings, but what about pruning them?

There are as many ways to garden as there are to write. Some people cast the seeds out for a wild pattern to see whatever comes up in the soil. Others meticulously plan out the timing and placement of plants to have the most efficient, full season harvest possible. While still others fall somewhere in between.

Writers do the same thing. We brainstorm a million ideas and start writing (some call it pantsing) to see what comes up. Others plan the entire story down to the details of every scene. While others have known points along the story and figure out what happens along the way.

For me, I like the stake method. As in, I plant stakes in the ground to know what goes where according to a basic plan, then I cast my appropriate seeds behind the stakes and wait to see what grows. To be clearer, I plan out the main plot points and what kind of chapters need to be between each point but then let my brain grow the rest of the details with time on task.

Then once the story has sprouted into a finished draft, you need to go back through and thin out the sprouts (subplots, plot holes, extra characters, etc.) that aren’t as strong as the other plants and will only leach nutrients from them. As the story grows and matures with revision, you need to trim healthy limbs and buds to better allow the remaining produce to grow that much stronger.

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