Saturday, June 2, 2007

Last Writer's Meeting Until September

Usually our monthly meetings are on Sundays, but in June we hold it on Saturday because the library stops Sunday hours for the summer. Once I got home, I realized that I didn't have to go back to work tomorrow, as I would normally. What a delight it was to look forward to a whole day off tomorrow. It was still a gorgeous sunny day, and my sister and my almost-brother-in-law were in the midst of some extreme gardening. I changed my clothes and joined them until my mom called us in for supper.

We have a fairly big yard, and the lawn was in dire need of treatment for the dandelion crop. So my sister's boyfriend was in charge of applying it, but first he mowed it and edged it. I mean, if he's coming over for one lawn care job, why not do three?

And that wasn't all. He dug a new flower bed, threw down loads of new soil, arranged logs for a bed edging and who knows what else. My sister planted here and transplanted there. Did I mention they have already worked on his yard and her yard this season? Did I mention they love gardening?

I mostly weeded in the flower beds and planted a few things. I'll have more time tomorrow. Mom called us to sit down for a divine dinner of organic roast beef, mashed potatoes, peas, carrots and corn. And homemade lemony cheesecake squares for dessert. My non-gardening husband and our dog joined us and we had a fun time laughing and visiting.

Once it got dark, I headed out with Xena for a walk, where I let my mind ponder the wonderful new tools Christine shared with us today in her workshop. My favorite is the list of 'what ifs' to ask your character.

Once you've got a bead on who your character is, keep asking 'what if?' For example, I used a character I resurrected for the brainstorming session at last month's retreat. Jock is an 18th century highlander fighting to restore Charles Stuart to the throne. So I started asking 'what if?'

What if Jock insisted on fighting for Prince Charlie against the wishes of his father?

What if Jock's father was a poor crofter who had trouble providing for his family?

What if Jock thought he was better equipped to manage the croft than his father, but worried there would be no croft left for him if his father continued to mismanage it?

What if Jock's frustrated desire to save the croft turned into a need to save Scotland itself?

Hmm. That is leading me to a whole new side of Jock. I need to keep asking 'what ifs' for him. And when I'm done with Jock, I'll ask about Emma, the daughter of the clan chief whose fiance is an officer of the Scots Royal regiment. After the battle of Culloden, Emma and Jock cross paths as all the highlanders flee from the ethnic cleansing of the English under the Duke of Cumberland's orders.

Hmm. And why stop there? There are supporting characters to wonder about. Oh, but I have to finish my vampire novel. So much to think about, so little time!


Akelamalu said...

Sounds like you had a lovely day, and the lunch Mom made sounds yummy.

PS I've tagged you, but only if you want to do it. :)

Devon Ellington said...

Think while you're gardening. You'll be surprised by what you "dig up" ;)

toni said...

The "what if" could apply to real life as well. And now I'm thinking about my own character....thought provoking.

And that dinner? Sounds absolutely wonderful. We're doing some similar yard work. I'm not one to "love" it either, so it's challenging to see it through. But we will.

Sans Pantaloons said...

I have great admiration for those who can paint pictures with words.

Oh, and Extreme Gardening also.

Kelly said...

I love the 'what if' questions. That and the 5 whys are great ways to get yourself out of any writing box you get trapped in!