Our theme this month: April showers bring May flowers.
Our question this month: how do we make our story flowers grow?
Here is one "gardening" technique I use with mine.
Like many writers, I tend to get stuck about halfway through a book, or maybe a third of the way in. The story is well begun, with the presentation of my characters and the establishment of the central problems to be resolved. I have a good sense of how that resolution is going to take place. But now I have the whole middle of the book to fill, the whole dreaded "saggy middle" to navigate.
My most fertile technique here is to go back and re-read the first half or third of the book and note carefully every gift I've already given myself. These are little fun, throw-away moments in the story that I hadn't thought much about as I was writing, details that crept in for their own sake, but that now need to be pressed into full service for the larger story.
For example, in Kelsey Green, Reading Queen, Kelsey is trying to win a school reading contest. But it is only mildly interesting to read about someone else reading. Reading is not inherently a spectator sport. Facing my sagging middle, I looked hard at what I had already provided for my authorial self to work with.
The school principal, Mr. Boone, comes by to cheer on the third graders. To give additional encouragement, he mentions in passing that the star fifth grade reader is off on a family vacation, so this may help their chances. Doesn't Kelsey have to have a face-to-face meeting with that star fifth grade reader later in the story when Lindsay returns from her trip?
Kelsey is frustrated by her mother's insistence that she give up precious reading time to attend her older siblings' school events: her mother calls it "being a family." Doesn't Kelsey have to have some kind of big blow-up moment as her irritation accumulates, an explosion that will lead her to a new appreciation of her family, after all?
So, as you try to get your story flowers to bloom, rain and sunshine are all to the good. But also pay close attention to the seeds that you yourself have already planted.