Yesterday, Sunday, was a good day for many reasons. I took a walk at 6:30 a.m. and had most of the area to myself. I read the Sunday paper, wrote 2500 words, made a delicious dinner with my husband, and together we weeded and pruned the neglected areas of the yard for two hours. I woke up this morning thinking about pruning. This is what I'm going to have to do with my current WIP when I have a complete first draft.
The azalea in the back garden has grown tall and thin, very unlike an azalea. Its yellow and white flowers were lovely this spring, but when we went out to look at it in the afternoon, we found no buds
|Mock cherry & more|
That mock cherry made me think of a character I introduced in the beginning of my WIP. She's threaded through the story, but as I now see the plot and the arc of the protagonist's story, I know that character has to be excised. I just hope I can do it without losing some good scenes that illustrate the protagonist's character, flaws and all.
Another challenge in the garden is the incredibly aggressive forsythia and its less likable companion oriental bittersweet, with its orange and yellow berries in the fall. This vine may
|Bittersweet, Leslie J. Mehrhoff, |
Universith of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Another problem is blackberry canes. I love berries--blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, cherry, and blackberry. We've grown all of them in our yard at one time or another, and some are easier to deal with than others. The easiest are strawberries, providing I can keep the animals and birds away, and the hardest are cherries. Raspberries and blackberries grow themselves, like an invasive species, which some are. We found the blackberries sprouting up along the driveway, under a side porch, and in the rhododendron planting. The berries are delicious, and growing them takes no effort. But getting rid of the canes does. And I know that even though I cut them back, to the root, the vine will spread underground and pop up elsewhere.
Sometimes the berries make me think of a few stock characters I seem to have created for my ownmystery series. The three sisters or brothers, the quiet villager who knows enough to steer the protagonist in the right direction and then disappears, the slightly batty older relative and the shrewd one, are just some of them. These are typical of the figures all writers have used at one time or another. They're attractive, easy to work with, pop up whenever needed without much effort on my part, and add a certain sweetness to the story. But they also make the story too easy to write, offering a veneer of beauty and charm when as a writer I know I need to go deeper. I need to root them out just like blackberry canes.
I could go on, but you get the idea. New England, like the rest of the country, is being overrun by invasive species. If I could get rid of them all, I would, though I would miss the azaleas and rhodies and pears and the begonias, especially the pears and the begonias. But I can root out their cousins in my fiction. So, that's my job for the rest of the summer, rooting out characters and themes and clues that don't belong, and that only keep me from creating something better.