Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Idea Farming—growing your plot #1


Idea Farming—growing your plot #1
This is the first of six blogs on story farming. In this one, I’ll talk about what components are required for a healthy plot harvest. In each if the next three, I will describe a farming method—Container (short stories), Backyard (anthologies and/or novella-length pieces),  The South 40 (the book series), and Mega Farming (the book series).
In the last blog of the series, I'll give some pro/con comments on each and my advice on when it might be appropriate to use ideas from each in a type of farming for effective cross-pollination. 
But, because we want a good crop/plot, we'll start with basic needs.
Soil.  While it is possible to produce sizable crops with hydroponics, most plants are grown in soil. Dirt is not soil. Soil contains an abundance of organic and inorganic materials that help nourish the plant and keep the roots anchored.
In your plot garden, soil is your experience as a reader and writer. In the same way that plants grow best is rich soil, without a good grasp of what it takes to make a good story, you’re pretty much doomed as a writer.
Seed. A mature seed contains an embryo plant that’s just waiting for the right conditions to grow into a plant.
Unless the mature idea for your story is present in your plot seed when you start writing, you’ll find that growing a story is impossible. Have a basic outline in mind when you begin.
“The Law”. All plants require Light, Air, and Water (LAW) to grow. When you take away any one of these three requirements, you break the law, and your plant dies.
Plots also die when requirements aren’t met. You need believable characters, reasonable plot points, and realistic dialog to keep your plot plant alive. (Sorry, but BC, RPP, and RD don’t make a cute acronym.)
Cultivation/weeding/pruning.     Gardeners and farmers know that keeping the soil loose, removing weeds, and, if the plant requires it, judicious removal of limbs/shoots that are dying, dead, or growing in the wrong direction are mandatory actions to an abundant harvest.
The plants in your plot gardens must be cultivated—keep your mind’s soil loose and open to new and alternate ideas. Plots must be weeded. You have to be willing to admit that some of what you’ve written is more weed than crop—and you have to be willing to remove those post-haste. Finally, some of the verbiage you write is good, but not in the story you’re writing—that’s where pruning comes in. Cutting good stuff to keep your plot growing (MOVING FORWARD) is essential.
Next week: Idea Farming—growing your plot #2—Container Gardening
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