Writing, like gardening, can be a dirty and tedious business. Hunched over a bed of lettuce or a laptop we labor for hours and weeks and months for a big payoff. More often than not, our labors do not live up to our dreams and yet we persevere.
My first year of gardening I began with two beds, tomatoes in one peppers and onion in the other. It went so well I expanded to four beds the next year, then seven the third. By the fifth year the old beds began to fall apart and it was time to think about gardening design.
Like building a world for my fiction, building a garden required planning and years of trial and error on what grows where and alongside what. Like a good fictional world, a nice sized garden should have separate environments. I visualized what I wanted my garden to look like as much as I imagined what my world would look like.
I didn’t have to start from scratch with either world. The novel was built from a number of other stories that came before, from characters that I knew for years, just as I used urbanite (broken concrete) to build new beds and pathways.
This project took me several weeks to complete and I got a chance to dig deep and got to know every square inch of this section of the yard. The urbanite was free. All I had to buy was a dozen bags of sand to level the stones and pea gravel to fill in the gaps. All the excavated soil was used in other beds.
Like writing a novel, this was a solitary project that went from a back-breaking task to a labor of love. I put more than just blood sweat and tears in the project. I signed the foundation.
Your fictional world needs a solid base for your characters to thrive in. The occasional weed or plot hole may show up as an eyesore, but with a good foundation they can be seen easily and yanked out.