Is it weird that I spend more time planning the outcome of my garden than I consider the climax of my novel?
In the yard, I know what’s going to happen. In June the strawberries ripen and I can barely get them in the house before they are eaten. July I get my salads on a daily basis. I can pick leaf lettuce, cucumbers, peppers and cherry tomatoes all summer. August heralds in tons of peppers and the canning and freezing begins. September, the fruit trees pay off and all the other harvests start.
The point is, I know what to expect from the garden at any given moment. I also know what is going to last me through winter. If I didn’t have these rewards, I wouldn’t spend as much time at gardening.
I just came to a realization in my novel. I have a great ending, a satisfying harvest so to speak. But I don’t have any early rewards for the reader. I wouldn’t read a book like that. Why am I writing such a disappointment?
I suppose part of the problem comes from too much world-building and not enough time thinking about what the reader wants. I get so caught up in the characters, their motivations and desires. Like seedlings, I nurture and cultivate them but if I leave a cucumber on the vine too long, the plant sends a chemical message to stop making more cucumbers. The more I pick them, the more I get. Not having my hero produce satisfying scenes is like growing a tomato plant that only gives one tomato.
I have a lot of work ahead on the second draft. Primary in my corrections is giving the reader something to root for. There’s nothing more satisfying then when the hero gets to kick the antagonist in the balls for the first time. Sure it’s going to backfire on him and the hero is put through hell, but it’s worth it. ‘Cause in the end, my hero will have a truckload of tomatoes to unload on the bad guy at the end. And isn’t that the kind of story we all want to read?