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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12 thoughts on “Day 21- If You Plant It, They Will Come by Michele E. Reisinger”
An earthworm was enraged at Peter Rabbit and Mr. McGregor’s (and Peter’s mother’s) ineptitude in dealing with his destructive ways.
I really enjoyed this prompt. So much so, that as I picked and chose and caught up with the assignments (well, I’m almost there), I chose a garden theme for yesterday’s Flash fiction challenge as well.
Day 21 ✔️
Story #21 complete!
May 21 2023
TODAY ENDED UP BEING A KID’S STORY <3
Amica and The Garden
The bright sun came up over the hill.
Letty Romaine woke up first.
“What a beautiful morning!” she said.
Tom Maydo heard Letty and opened his eyes. “Wow,” he said.
It really was a beautiful day. The sun was feeding the garden with its elegant beams, and soon, everyone was awake.
“Radical, dudes!” Duke the Cuke said. “I can feel my leaves getting bigger!”
“And I think it might be my turn to go to the big basket today,” Christina Carrot said nervously.
“Aw, don’t worry Christina,” Letty said. “Let’s enjoy this beautiful day.”
The garden swayed in the breeze as the morning went on, soaking up what sunlight they could for the day, when a black beetle flew over and landed right on Duke’s biggest leaf.
“Dudes,” he whispered, trying to get his friends’ attention. No one looked over.
“DUDES,” he said again. Tom looked over and immediately alerted Letty and Christina of the scary black beetle intruder.
“Let’s call Birdie for help!” Letty suggested.
“Hi, I’m Amica” the beetle said to Duke the Cuke who immediately screamed, “I don’t wanna die! Shoo! Shoo, dude!”
Amica the beetle looked hurt and confused at Duke, but remained on the leaf anyway. “I’m not here to-” she tried to say.
“He’s a goner,” Christina said. “Remember what happened to Mr. Bean?!”
“But-but-” Amica tried to interject again.
Tom whistled for Birdie to come help.
“What’s goin’ on?” Birdie swooped in.
“This black flea beetle is going to eat Duke!” they all exclaimed.
Birdie came over to Amica the beetle and inspected her carefully. She braced for impact.
Suddenly, Birdie broke out laughing. “This is no flea beetle,” he said.
“That’s right!” Amica said. “I tried to tell them, but they wouldn’t listen to me.”
“This is a ladybug,” Birdie told the garden. “She’s here to help you.”
“Oh!” exclaimed Letty. “She doesn’t have any spots…and she is all black.”
“That’s right,” Amica said. “All ladybugs look different. I was born with one big spot and no red, but I’m still a ladybug.”
“We’re sorry, Amica,” Christina said. “We didn’t know.”
“What does Amica mean?” asked Duke.
“It means ‘friend’,” she replied, and smiled at the garden and Birdie.
“Welcome to the garden, friend” they smiled back.
Convinced his work was done, Birdie flew away. Amica the Ladybug stayed to help keep Letty Romaine, Tom Maydo, Duke the Cuke and Christina Carrot safe from aphids for the rest of that beautiful day.
Day 21, done!
Day 21 completed ✔️!
Day 21 in the bag. Can’t believe we only have 10 days left!
Story Synopsis: Florence, a widow, has a vegetable garden she treasures in her backyard in the country where she’s retired recently. She’s also planted flowers in front and has a patch of lawn witn table and chairs under a tree where she likes to eat lunch. Her life is finally cozy and comfortable, she has enough money to scrimp by and just enjoy her life with no more responsibilities. Her vegetable garden, which she enjoys tending more than anything, provides her with not only most of her food, but helps her budget besides.
New renters with a pet chicken move in next door. They are noisy, messy, and leave their front gate open all day allowing the chicken to dig up Florence’s beautiful front yard. Don’t they feed it? It’s always looking for grubs.
Asking them to shut their gate falls on deaf ears. She tries to keep tabs on shutting it herself which makes them mad, too much trouble to open and close it all the time, they say.
But when it gets into her vegetable garden, that’s the last straw. She dumps it miles away near a canyon where it runs after her car as she drives off. Sorry, chicken, she thinks, it’s either your happiness or mine.
I wrote 615 words, which likely comes before yesterday’s story, with my characters finding a new community and learning one of their children can talk to fairies as they’re planting a garden and hope they’ll be able to stay there to watch it grow.
A silly story about a man with a vegetable garden, who sneers at his neighbor’s rock garden until the rocks start to grow.
Ten… more… days…
I really liked this prompt. I worked really well as a continuation of yesterday’s prompt. Yesterday I wrote about my character looking at a picture of her and her father in a sunflower garden. She was preparing for her father’s funeral. Today’s prompt is about her restoring her father’s garden. (I’ve been using most of the prompts as one continuous story. These fit well.).
This one came fairly easy. It’s 597 words about the bird and butterfly sanctuary my husband always wanted to build behind the house so he could watch them from the back porch. Not as many birds and butterflies have found his sanctuary as he hoped, but he’s constantly working to find that right combination of food and plants. He’s persistent. He’ll get it right. He always does.