Monday, June 14, 2010

Good Plant, Wrong Placement

My neighbor's full-grown tree sheds its seed pods on my 4' X 4' garden plot. The other day, I went out to water and found dozens of miniature trees sprouting. If left alone, I'd soon have a tree in the middle of my vegetable patch. Of course, I removed them. Otherwise, they'd take all the room and nutrients my tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, and other veggies need to grow.

I sometimes plant great thoughts in my manuscript. My mind takes off in fifty directions, but it sends me onto rabbit trails that don't fit the tone or theme of my book. Like my veggie garden, I must pull out that seedling and toss it. Sometimes I'll put it in another document for future use.

Have any misplaced scenes, characters, or plots shown up in your manuscript? How do you recognize and deal with them?

34 comments:

Jody Hedlund said...

You always have such great analogies, Susan! I think that I mostly have the problem of being too sparse in my planting. Sometimes I have to go back and add more to round it off and make it fuller. But I have noticed with my latest WIP, some of the repetitions that I've used! Those I'm pulling out with a frenzy!

Jessica Nelson said...

Oooh, that's a good analogy!
Like Jody, I sometimes think I don't have enough going on.

Karen Lange said...

I like this comparison, and can almost picture you weeding out your garden and your manuscripts:)
Blessings,
Karen

Carla Gade said...

I've found myself plucking out a few wonderful lines to save them for another story or another scene. I think sometimes I get over anxious to plant my thoughts in one novel.

Thanks for the great analogy. They always give me something to think about that can improve my writing.

You're the best, Susan!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jody -

I had to cut an entire chapter because it served no purpose in the story. Painful - but necessary.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jessica -

The area where I fall short is setting.

LOL! I'm glad I planted a garden this year. It's given me lots of material for the blog.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Karen -

I try to paint a picture, which is why I love analogies. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Carla -

You're welcome. Thank you for your kind words. It's nice to know these posts are serving a useful purpose. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Terri Tiffany said...

Yes. Sometimes I have some subplots that aren't really going anywhere or I will toss in something and my CPs usually mention it to me:)

Cindy said...

Great analogy. I used to do this a lot and still find myself lingering on a description or a character thought that isn't necessary. But since I try to do my plot planning before I write now, I usually end up having to go back and fill in.

patti said...

Yes!
I had a wonderful (so I thought) scene in The Rhythm of Secrets about a prostitute and my dear young Sheba. The only problem was, it took attention away from the protagonist and was repetitive of later scenes.

My editor (grrr) made me kill of dear Honey's dramatic moment. For some reason I don't "see" these little issues...until I've rewritten!!! LOL

Great post, Susan.
Patti

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

It's good we have critique partners, who can spot these "good plants in the wrong place."

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Cindy -

Thanks for presenting one solution - plotting.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Patti -

I know what you mean. These things elude me until I get into editing. When I'm writing the first draft, the scene/paragraph/subplot seems logical.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Janalyn Voigt said...

I remove words I favor so much they crop up too often, sort of like those "weeds" you mention.

Lily Robinson said...

I avoid it by taking a break! Just kiddin'...

Actually, that is where I left off when I decided to take a break from my WIP to devote time to my new grandson. I realized that I had drifted off the main road with my story. It was good writing, but it didn't do anything for the story I wanted to tell. So that's what's waiting for me when I get back to it... several chapters to delete. Some may go into another book, but it doesn't belong in this one.

Great analogy... the weeds stealing the nutrients. Loved it.

Diane said...

Weeding is such hard work and takes diligence and patience! :O)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Janalyn -

Oh, you also have favorite words? One of the Genesis Contest judges picked up on the fact I used the word, "seatbelt," three times in my chapter.

Hmm, I thought if you spread them out it was okay.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Lily -

Nice to see you. :)

Save those deleted portions in another document. You never know when they'll come in handy.

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Diane -

I'm finding weeding is actually easier with the square foot gardening method. The soil doesn't get compacted.

Unfortunately, pulling unwanted "plants" from my manuscript is a tougher proposition.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

It's not always easy to see when your story has gone off track. One time I didn't realize what had happened until I'd written several chapters. The secondary character had taken over my story. So I had to back track and delete. Once I did that I was right on course again. :0)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kathy -

As a SOTP writer, constant vigilance is required to keep the story from veering off track.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jeanette Levellie said...

Oh yes, I take off on rabbit trails and plant all manner of superfluous shrubs that take nourishment from the veggies.

How do I recognize them? They don't enhance whatever point I'm making. Or, a dear critique partner shines her flashlight on a part that needs pruning.

What a fun analogy!

Marja said...

Great post!
My rabbit chasin' is usually picked up by the editor, haha!
Well, okay, seriously... I read and re-read and re-read and most of the time I make corrections or place certain parts and ponderings somewhere else in the story.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen -

Good point. If it doesn't enhance the story, move the plot forward, and the story wouldn't be affected by its absence, you probably don't need it.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Marja -

Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting. :)

I'm always stunned when I keep finding problems after I've read something a gazillion times. Another pair of eyes does help.

Blessings,
Susan

kristen said...

This is an interesting post, since I've recently decided that's what was going on in my manuscript. I've had this girls parents in the book all along, but their personalities and motivations were never clear. After a year and a half of trying to force them into the book, I decided to stop fighting and get rid of them. Now I have to smooth out the dirt that they disrupted and start editing again.
Thanks for the post, Susan.
Have a great day:)

Nancy said...

They try to but I usually notice them and pull them up. If I'm doing non-fiction, I make a note and use these somewhere else. They're like little jewels.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kristen -

Usually these good, but superfluous plants, aren't missed when you remove them. I've heard of authors combining and/or cutting characters out of the story.

When the dust settles, I'm sure your story will work out fine.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Nancy -

I like your description, "little jewels." They're not bad, they simply don't fit the story.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Lynn said...

Agreed with everyone else. This is a great analogy. I'm like Jody. I need to go back and flush out more story, or plant a few more seeds.
Nice post, as usual!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Lynn -

Thanks for the compliment. We've had a good discussion. I'm glad you joined us.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Christ is Write. said...

Hey! Love your blog. Just wanted to let you know that I have awarded you! :) God bless

Tessa

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Tessa -

Thanks you! I hope you'll visit often. I'll pop over to your blog.

Blessings,
Susan :)