Two of my secondary characters were feeling dodgy, so I worked on some writing exercises to develop them further. To remind you about my current project, I'm rewriting one of my YA novels as MG. Both of the characters in need of development were in the original, but they're quite different in my new book--and not just because they're younger. I had to get a more complete picture of each one, digging deeper into their histories and hopes. I think it was time well spent.
Today I worked in our yard, literally digging deeper. My husband, Jim, enjoys gardening whereas I enjoy looking at a yard that's nicely groomed. :)
I went outside, full of energy. I was asking all sorts of questions, as I always do on the rare days that I work on my sections. I realized how different it must have been for Jim with me there. Gone was his solitude.
I said, "When I'm helping, do you feel like you're working with a four-year-old?"
"Yeah," he said, "though I was thinking a three-year-old."
That's when I quieted down (a little).
Jim's sections (most of the yard) are pretty. Today he mowed the lawn, trimmed branches, weeded beds, and spread compost. The few areas I'm responsible for looked like they belonged outside a haunted house. I'd claimed them after rereading THE SECRET GARDEN a few years ago. I love that book.
It's dangerous for me, though. Whenever I read it, I crave spots of land where I can grow things. Mistake, mistake, mistake! I burn out on gardening faster than black widow spiders burn out on boyfriends. I should not be trusted with plants.
That said, I had a great time cleaning up one of my little sections. Years ago, I planted a strong, Dawn-resistant ground cover that has vines with pretty little leaves. (I'd tell you what it is, but I have no idea. Some smart person at the nursery picked it for me.) Over time, I watched it spread and noted it thrived under my negligence.
Today, I cut away the dead parts. First I worried I'd do it the wrong way, but I relaxed when Jim wasn't concerned. Besides, every time I cut away more dead leaves, the nicer it looked. Even when I snipped vines that had seemed dead but turned out to still have perfect leaves, I figured those were like the darlings we kill when we cut a less-than-fabulous scene that weighs down our work. My plant hacking reminded me of editing before I knew what I was doing as a writer. There's something to that "ignorance is bliss" cliché. Knowing I was playing instead of crafting brought joy. It reminded me to not take myself too seriously. I don't know about you, but my best writing happens when I'm having fun. I believe joy shows up on the page.
Joy showed up in my yard, too. I'd show you a picture, but without a "before" shot...well, very few people on the planet would find my gardening impressive. Just take my word for it: it looks better.
How is your writing going? How 'bout your gardening?
Just for fun, here's a song by Regina Spektor. My singing is even worse than my gardening, but if I could sing well...I think I'd like to sing like Regina Spektor.