My mother loved all types of gardens. She loved being outdoors. I can remember flower gardens every place we lived when I was growing up. I remember the happiness my mother found working in the dirt to bring some beauty into our lives. It wasn't until I became an adult that I realized the time and effort she put into such a simple thing as a flower garden.
While working in my yard yesterday I realized that writing is very much like tending a garden. What I thought would be an easy chore as I have a very small yard, turned out in fact to be quite tedious and took more than four hours to just do the basics.
If I were to cut my yard in a simple pattern with the object being only to get job done with as little effort made as possible, it would the same as it I threw a few cactus into the ground and called it a garden. Yeah, the rudimentary elements are there and some would indeed call it a garden, but there wouldn't be much color or beauty to the finished project. It's the same with beginning a new story. I can throw some Who, What, When, Why, and How into it, but does it really become a great story with just the basics?
Now, how about if I take out my weed eater and trim the edges of my yard? Start to shape things and make sure everything in my yard has a specific purpose for being there? Maybe add a little splash of color here and there to help bring excitement to my landscaping? Then it would be more like a Japanese garden where the balance between functionality and beauty draws attention to my handiwork. But still it might be lacking something. A missing piece which invites the world to come by and take a look. If I add tension and a strong plot to my stories, it might capture the attention of my readers for a few pages or maybe even a few chapters. But if the magical element or spirit of the story doesn't hook them, they will leave without caring about the ending.
How about if I trimmed the hedges, planted flowers, set up cozy chairs amongst the beauty and welcomed the world with open arms? Wouldn't that be a garden worth visiting?
My writing should be like a garden...well thought out, well tended, every aspect of it planned out for optimum exposure. It should have a subtle sense of purpose and have a strong voice to entice readers to come for a visit. Only then will the beauty of it be seen by others. Only then can I comfortably sit a while in my garden...and plan the next one...