Do you garden? I try. Sometimes it works out okay and we grow amazing flowers and vegetables. And sometimes it just dies. We have a little bit of both going on this year. Some fantastic looking tomatoes and zucchini and some really sad greens. I’m bummed about the greens.
I think a parallel can be drawn between gardening and writing. Right now I have a new story idea swirling around in my head. It’s about a nurse. Probably not a coincidence that I’m presently in nursing school.
It just started with a simple scene and each day the scene and story idea is growing just a little bit. Some days the growth is almost imperceptible. I add a new descriptive element to the hero or hte heroine gets a name.
Other days, it’s like a new blossom on a zucchini plant that seems to appear overnight and I suddenly have a new plot point to help carry my story just a little bit further along.
Like gardening, growing a new story idea takes:
Consistent attention. Water your idea daily like you’d water your garden. Spend just a little time with your story. Daydream as you fall asleep at night. Go sit outside and enjoy the sunshine on your face as you revisit your story idea. Give yourself five minutes each day to begin cultivating your idea.
Room to grow. This can be a bit tricky. Have you ever planted a pumpkin in a flower pot? You wouldn’t because it would have no place to grow. I pumpkin plant needs to spread out. Your story idea does too. Don’t try to contain it, let your imagination take over and examine the possibilities. Play “What if,” with your story idea and see where it goes.
Harvesting. Once your veggies are ripe and ready for picking, you don’t just leave them there. You harvest them and cook a great meal. Zucchini turns into bread and muffins in my house and tomatoes become sauce and homemade ketchup. Learn to recognize when your story idea is ready to become a book.
Generally, I tend to know it’s time to sit down and start writing once I have a full arch. I know how my story begins and ends and I have a solid conflict in mind. The details aren’t worked out but I probably have a few scenes painted in my imagination. Then it’s time to harvest that story and turn it into a book.
Enjoy this process. Growing a story idea is one of the most rewarding parts of romance writing. If you don’t have any story ideas swirling around in your imagination, check out the options here. Or grab a copy of one of my story starter books.