Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Care and Pruning of Your Manuscript

If you've ever been to a seminar or event and halfway through wondered why you thought this was a good idea, please read on.

I recently attended a session at my local library on basic houseplant care. During the discourse, I was thinking this was two hours of my life I’d never get back again. But then, I began to recognize the parallels between plant care and writing.

In the beginning stages of this man’s love affair with plants, he said he killed off a lot of plants while learning the business. Who among us doesn’t have forgotten drafts of horrible ideas shelved under the bed which we started while learning what we were doing, only to realize those ideas would never work?

He next said he learned a lot by making mistakes. We authors spend a lot of time rewriting manuscripts that we once thought were great, but, after learning a bit more about our craft, realize they can be improved upon. Each revision makes the manuscript stronger and more meaningful. Maybe it’ll even be good enough to make it into print one day.

His third bit of advice really hit home. He learned to be ruthless when it came to pruning his plants. To avoid legginess, which would result in a weak plant, he trims a stalk or vine back to almost nothing and allows it to fill out into a healthy plant. We’ve often been told to trim our backstory to half of what it starts at, and then cut it in half again. Just like the leggy plant, trimming a story of its excess makes for a stronger plot line.

Who would have thought there would be such cross-over between caring for plants and caring for a manuscript? Please let me know your suggestions for improving on a WIP. I’m still taking names for the gift-card drawing, until midnight tonight, so leave me a comment. Then, click on the icon and visit other sites on the hop to be eligible for even more goodies. Thanks for visiting!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for interesting posts,

    Adila (from Azerbaijan)