A Field, Not a Swamp

Stagnant. That’s what a swamp is.
Cultivated, plowed, sown, tilled, harvested. That’s what a farmer’s field is.

I want my characters to be fields, not swamps, but in order for that to happen, I have to be a good farmer.

  • Unturned soil: Character begins thinking he is pretty happy, but something nags at the back of his mind
  • First plow: Character realizes not all is well in his internal workings. He wants to be something more.
  • Seed is sewn: Finds purpose in working hard to obtain goal
  • Drought comes: Goal is put out of reach. Despair sets in.
  • Fertilizer: Perhaps can reach goal another way.
  • Rain: Outside influences encourage growth.
  • Growth: That one’s pretty obvious
  • Ripening: Character realizes perhaps his goal should be different
  • Harvest: Achieves goal

The important part is not to get things out of over. If the rain falls at the wrong time, the crop is ruined. I have a tendency, I’ve noticed, to start my character mid-development or to rehash problems the character has already worked through. Writing out a list helps me to have an idea of where my character is supposed to be at a given time and it keeps me on track (lists are the way I do things, but you could use an outline, a chart, a bubble graph, or even a picture like a visual life map).

The only problem then is that you have to know where your list is . . .

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