Write a story in which a garden plays a central role, whether as setting, character, source of conflict–or any combination of those three elements.
WHAT kind of garden is it? Flower, vegetable… Unicorn? Is it flourishing or fallow? Sprawling or skimpy? And what kind of nourishment does its harvest require? Is that nourishment easy or difficult to acquire?
WHO owns/plants/cultivates the garden? Are they the same person?
WHY do they garden? Pleasure? Revenge? Magic? Obligation? Or why do they refuse/delay/squirm at the prospect? Are they too old, young, squeamish, busy, distracted, sick?
WHERE is the garden located? In the protagonist’s backyard? In a community plot at the over-55 development? On the space station? Atop a soaring skyscraper? Beside the cottage? Behind the castle? Lost in the multiverse? At great-aunt Lulu’s?
WHEN does the garden exist? In memory, 1236 BCE, a week from now, during the Plague, during the war, during the famine? And when does it bloom? Predictably or never or only when the Blue Moon shines?
HOW does the garden connect to the protagonist’s deepest, darkest fear, want, need, desire? How will they feel/act if the garden fails? Succeeds? Remains unharvested? And how does the garden impact the protagonist’s relationship with other characters? Other creatures?
Need more ideas?
Claim an extant garden–a real one, or one from literature or film–and set your story there. BUT, change at least one significant detail about its composition.
OR, borrow characters or historical figures and place them in your newly invented garden. Bonus points for genre mash-ups.
OR, retell a garden story from a different POV… like the worm’s.
Michele E. Reisinger
Michele is a writer and StoryADay Superstar living in Bucks County, PA, with her family and never enough books. Her short fiction has appeared in Across the Margin, Stories That Need to be Told, Sunspot Literary Journal, Dreamers Creative Writing, and others. Find her online at mereisinger.com.
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