Weeds, Words, and Writing Advice

“Some people are like weeds—annoying organisms whose value has not yet been discovered.” Scattermureyn Kadorphi

Many times in writing we encounter sentences, scenes, or characters that feel like weeds, and we want to pull them out instantly; they’re pesky, overgrown, straggly, and generally unbecoming. However, these “weeds” can often grow into beautiful, stately, useful story elements if we give them the time and grace to grow.
The character of Scattermureyn Kadorphi is one such “weed” of my own writing. He started his life as a villain—one of those eloquent, well-educated, cynical villains so necessary for literary conflict—and he was supposed to die in the second book of what was supposed to be a trilogy or at longest, a tetralogy (or quadrilogy, take your pick). However, the books grew, and he grew, and now he’s become one of my most indispensible characters, intricately involved in the plots of all four books that I have currently written (and he promises to continue his role in the rest of the Emphalia series, which at current counting looks to require at least nine books).
As I myself shift gears from reading the proofs of “But Kisses Never Hurt Me” to my rough draft of the next Emphalia novel, I’m reminded how important it is to give writing the space to grow. If I look at a page with the same level of scrutiny that I apply to proofs, I’ll never write anything; the plot and characters won’t be allowed to get anywhere because I’ll be too busy eliminating unnecessary words and correcting my grammar. However, if I let the weeds of my writing grow, seeing what I’ve got before I pull them out, I usually find that there is something of value in the midst of the mess.Ferns and Horsetail

© 2014 Andrea Lundgren

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