Growing Skittish Story Seeds

I’m learning that when I get a story idea I have to be very careful not to scare it away. I’ll get a tiny seed of an idea and if I jump in and try to make a story from it right away it comes out all forced and undeveloped like a malformed embryo.             

I’ve also learned not to talk about an idea with anyone. It’s almost like the story wants to surprise me along with the reader and if I try to explain what I want to do with it, the story loses it’s excitement about unfolding. It becomes flat and we lose interest in each other. Then it slowly withers away.

I will let an idea sit for a while. I’ll take that seed and gently suggest a story to go with it. I’ll hint at how it will end. I rarely know how it will get to the end which makes it fun. I get to discover it along the way.

Sometimes an idea forms into a complete story with a beginning a middle and an end on its own. Those ideas are few and far between but when they arrive, I find that I can get the whole thing down in a quick first draft.

Most of the time I need to take tiny snippets of a scene and introduce it to the idea. If it sticks, a new leaf of the story uncurls and I quickly move on to the next scene.

Eventually, once I have enough scenes and the seedling is thriving, the story almost writes itself. Of course there’s a lot of dirt that needs to be brushed away and pruning to do to get a the shiny new plant, but that’s what revising and editing is for.

With careful nurturing, the new story forms into a vibrant healthy plant full of life, action and an end which blooms as a flower.

In the long run I hope to have an entire landscape of stories.   

Garden of Stories



7 thoughts on “Growing Skittish Story Seeds

  1. I keep getting the seed for a story, but no middle and no end

  2. Rob says:

    Remember to “water” these “seeds” often. Otherwise, there will be little to no growth.

  3. That is so true. Writing needs careful nurturing and it has to be gently cultivated. Loving your journey of self-discovery even as you put words on paper. Wishing you gentle rain and fertile soil. Sharon

  4. What a lovely analogy. 😀

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