“Life is a glorious banquet, a limitless and delicious buffet.” — Maya Angelou
John and I created a straw bale garden. No dirt. No plowing. The straw bales become ovens to germinate and grow fruits and vegetables. The process mirrors what is needed to cook up a great story.
8 Essentials to Cook Up A Great Story.
Essential 1- Foundation
We laid chicken wire and landscape fabric to keep out the moles, voles, and weeds.
- Before we can write a great story, we must live a great story. We must transform our hurts, scars, and successes to create something meaningful to share with others. We must lay “chicken wire” to keep out discouragement.
- My foundation is my desire to write with God. I don the full armor of God against temptations and discouragements. (Ephesians 6:10-17)
Essential 2 – Fence
We cemented in sturdy wood posts and pounded in tall metal stakes to support the fencing mesh that protects our garden.
- The sturdy posts are understanding plot and characterization.
- The metal stakes are learning punctuation, grammar, and spelling.
- The fencing prevents such things as shallow characters, weasel words, and misuse of “lay” and “lie” from entering our stories.
Essential 3 – Climbing Supports
We ran wire between T-bars for plants to climb.
- Our characters must grow during our stories. They should be able to do or be something they couldn’t do or be in the beginning.
- If characters droop and rot, readers have little to inspire them.
Essential 4 – Straw Bales
We placed straw bales in the sun. We performed a 10-day process to turn the bales into germinating, growing ovens. Fertilizing and watering. Again and again. On day five, we poked our fingers into the straw and felt the heat.
- We must cook up conflict, obstacles and disasters to give our characters challenges, failures, and successes.
- Readers will feel the heat and beg for more.
Essential 5 – Soaker Hoses
We ran soaker hoses on top of the bales. Timers attached to the hoses water the plants daily.
- We need to water ourselves daily.
- A burnt out writer doesn’t write a great story.
- For me, soaking is spending time with God. He may invite me to forget about word count and take a walk with Him.
Step 6 – Seeds
We planted seeds and seedlings in the straw.
Our stories should have themes and ah-ha moments seeded within the action, dialog, and reflection.
Essential 7 – Flourishing Plants
We watch our plants grow, reaching toward the sun.
- Our stories grow almost by themselves. Why?
- Because we’ve worked through the prior steps.
Essential 8 – Fruits and Vegetables
We pick the red, succulent strawberries and tomatoes. And enjoy.
- Readers enjoy a satisfying story that grows them in some way.
- For us writers, the fruit could be to:
-connect with people who’ve read our stories, or simply
-watch our love of creating come to fruition.
Cook up your stories and get readers returning for more. Click to tweet.
In what ways have you thought about the growth of your stories?
Wow, I loved the analogy, Zoe. Great points. Years ago (in Idaho) I contemplated a garden like that, so it was fun to see the steps. Now, if i could sit on your patio, talk story and enjoy some of those juicy strawberries, that would be the ultimate!
Jane, that would be nice. We have little green strawberries already.
Excellent! I also loved learning the process of a straw garden. Never heard of one before. Fascinating!
It is fascinating, Karla. John and I read the book about straw-bale gardening all winter. So far the seedlings are surviving, and we’ve planted seeds for other veggies.