Thursday, May 30, 2013


Writing is Like Mowing the Yard

I don’t think I’m obsessive compulsive. Just because I like order in my surroundings doesn’t mean I’m OCD. So okay, I clean off my desk every night when I go home from work (at my real job). I just like to start fresh every day.

Last weekend I decided to mow. I walked over to get the ZTR Hustler out of the shed, and of course,  it needed gas. My son had mowed and there was barely enough gas left in it to start it. I keep the gas in a different shed. So I started it, drove it to the shed and filled up with gas. I also checked the oil. It’s a five thousand dollar mower, so I don’t want it blowing up for lack of maintenance.  When all was ready, I headed out back to mow near the pond.

I mow in a pattern. It’s a huge patch, so if I looked at the entire thing as one big area, I would have gotten discouraged. Instead, I picked a small section at a time, mowed it, then moved on to another section and so forth. As I mowed, I encountered large branches that had fallen during the storm. I detoured around those and left them until I could go fetch the big Kubota tractor with the front end loader. I also detoured around several land turtles who thought they were hiding. If those turtles had been the alligator snapping turtles, they would have been blown away. I mow with my .38 by my side. I didn’t detour around the snake. I mowed him over.

When I was nearly finished, I spotted several big rocks. Where I live, rocks are a thriving crop. Again, another task for the Kubota. When I finished mowing, I fetched the weed eater to clean up the mowed area and put finishing touches on the job.

As I mowed, I thought about my current work in progress. I was nearing the end of my first draft, and had one major final scene left to write. I planned it out in my head. Mowing is good planning time.

You see, my idea for this current Rhetta adventure is a pretty big-seventy plus thousand words, many chapters, lots of scenes. When I first pantsed it, (I’m a pantser not a plotter) it was nearly too big to tackle. However, I sat down at the computer and prepared my new Word doc, spent time setting up margins headers, footers, etc. When the maintenance was done, I was ready to mow. I mean, write.

I knew where I wanted the story to start and where I wanted it to end. I knew what had to be in the middle. So I began to mow. I mean, write. I wrote in scenes, and chapters. Soon the scenes and chapters seamed themselves together into a story. Along the way, I circled round some tough spots, like those branches. I left them, marked them to return later to fix. I got my Kubota, I mean my husband, Bill, who is my best reader, to help me move them.

I found the land turtles, I mean, story inconsistencies, moved them, too, and cleaned up the story.

I met a huge snake, my synopsis and showed him who was boss.

My story is done and the weed eating begins. I mean editing.

Writing is just like mowing.

 

 

 

5 comments:

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  2. This is great. Mowing and writing. Shaving the terrain, clearing out excess. That's editing - whether yard or story. An exercise in love that gives the viewer an engaging landscape.

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  3. Yes, that's exactly right, Ellie!

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  4. I love what Ellie said - it is shaving and shaping, to be sure. Good analogy.

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