Today I’m sitting in my office and looking out the window into the backyard where our small vegetable garden is reaching its fall stage. If it had produced as it should have over the summer, the tomato vines would be full of red fruit awaiting plucking.
I’m always amazed when non-writers wonder where we get our ideas. The thing is, life is filled with a garden of creative ideas which produces better fruit that my physical garden. All you have to do is look around and pluck one fruit off the vine. Gardeners like us know where tomatoes come from. Ideas are everywhere.
Plucking one is simply the beginning. That’s when the work starts.
Like a nice, plump tomato, an idea is tasty. But you need to figure out how to serve it up. Shall it be simply washed, sliced and served up fast? Is it a short story idea?
Or maybe combine the luscious idea with more ripe ideas, pressure cook them, and allowed the jars to sit on the pantry shelf until the time is right. Is it an idea that can’t stand alone but becomes more when combined with other ideas? Is it a part of a novel?
Or perhaps put the freshly picked tomato into a pot on the stove, cooking it until the goodness flows and intermixes with the spices you add. Is it an idea which can be a dish unto itself and simply needs a bit of tweaking to become a nice novella or novel?
Let me share the recipe: Take one or more plump, ripe ideas, add a bit of thinking (what-ifs), a cup of characters, a pinch of plotting, then be sure to write hard to make sure all combines as needed. Cook it with a bit of editing and rewriting. Repeat as needed. The result is sure to be a wonderful story all will enjoy. They should ask for seconds.
Now, go out there and pluck a tomato!