Thursday, May 13, 2010

From a flower to a fruit

I had a plant full of pretty white flowers one day. The next day, most of the petals had dropped off, but I could see the swollen pistil that I knew would soon become a fruit. One month later, the fruits are still on my tree and in no hurry to ripen. The process takes time!!!!

When I signed up for the Internal Conflict Blog Fest, I knew exactly which scene from my WiP I would be posting. It was a scene that I thought I had got right the first time round, and which I had read through a couple of times without needed to make any changes.

While reading through it before posting, I found that if I changed the setting of the background to the scene a bit, not only could I cut out a lot of unnecessary stuff from the chapter that contained the scene, I could shoot for much greater impact from the chapter.

And what applies to that chapter would apply to many others. I am pretty sure that if I take the red pencil to the document, I can easily cut out at least half the fat, which would give me space to fill in a lot more muscle. The synopsis wouldn't change, neither would the story, but the book would be much better to read.

Editing reminds me a lot of the process by which a fruit becomes a fruit. Pollination is needed to get the flower to decide to become a fruit- that is the first draft. But after the flower swells up to become a fruit, and before the fruit actually ripens, is the multiple drafts and re-drafts it takes to make a WiP a finished Manuscript. Once you accept that editing a document is not much different from gardening, things become so much easier to accept. Or don't they?


gae polisner said...

so true! great analogy.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Good analogy - however, I do better at editing than I do gardening. There's a reason most of the plants in our house are plastic.

Jayne said...

I definitely think it is like gardening. I seem to spend a lot of more time pruning!


I love plants, there is a garden where I live but it's belongs to the apartment below,I have many indoor plants.
I enjoyed your post very much, at the moment have a sore throat can't seem to shake it off, but there are people worse off than I.
Take care.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Patience, patience, patience!

Karen Walker said...

I'm with Diane on this one. I seem to kill live plants. But I do think the analogy works. While you are waiting for a plant to flower, there is lots to do to help it along. Editing is that process.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

I like the parallel of writing and growing fruit. Editing is a lot like pruning. The trick is to know when to stop. :0) Thanks!

B. Miller said...

I love this comparison and I totally agree with it. Looking back to the beginning of my WIP I can see the seed which turned into this huge plant of a book! Thanks for sharing this with us today.

dipali said...

I think it should be swollen pistil, not pestle!
Nitpicking sub-editorial tendencies apart, I like the analogy.

Talli Roland said...

What a great analogy! It's so true!

slommler said...

Very true!! It is the ripening process that seems so painfully slow!

Marjorie said...

It's so great that you can think of it in that context. I am begining to realize that in order to be a writer you have to develop a thick skin. Learning what you can cut from your work is part of that.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

That's a perfect analogy, Rayna. Of course, now I'm craving fruit with my lunch! :-)

Helen Ginger said...

A manuscript is indeed like a plant that has to be planted, nourished, watered, and taken care of in order for it to bloom or produce fruit. Thanks for the visual!

Straight From Hel

Jemi Fraser said...

Great analogy :) I'm definitely in the pruning stage of things at the moment!

Trudy said...

A very interesting, and accurate analogy Rayna! I'm with Shannon, think I'll have to have a nice piece of fruit with dinner!

Have a blessed day!

Anonymous said...

Good analogy! I think this applies to life too. Sometimes less really is more.

Clarissa Draper said...

That's a good way to think of it. And when the story is over, it's like the plant is dead. We feel a little loss.


Dee said...

Definitely a great analogy! I'd never thought of writing in that way, but it is so true.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Gae / Talli/ SueAnn/ Helen/ Dee- thanks

@ Diane - pruning is fun, I don't yet know about editing.

@ Jayne - while gardening, I do spend a lot of time pruning. Need to see how it is with writing.

@ Yvonne - hope your throat is better now.

@ Alex - I see I really need it.

@ Karen - the good thing about gardening is that you can be sure that if you do things right, you will get the reward. Publishing doesn't seem to work quite that way.

@ Kathi - stopping!!! That too is a point that I had never thought of yet.

@ Becky - seeds!!! That is a whole different post!

@ Dipali - you are a lifesaver. I knew the word was wrong, but spell check was not giving me options that looked any better.

@ Marjorie - oh yes, writing is actually the easiest thing in the process

@ Shannon/ Trudy - thanks, and I hope you enjoyed your fruit

@ Jemi - all the best.

@ Fiona - very much so. This is life too.

@ Clarissa - never happened to me, and I wonder if I now want it to ever happen.

dipali said...

Sorry- it's still wrong- it's pistil, not pistel:(

Patricia Stoltey said...

I'll be teaching a class on self-editing again in June, and most of the attendees will be beginning writers who have no idea how much work we need to do on our manuscripts to make them publishable. It is very much like my garden--weeds growing everywhere. :)

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Dipali - what would I do without you, my faithful editor?

@ Particia - I have been re-reading my document that, I thought I had read and fixed. I now realise how much work is yet to be done.


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