Do you like my pretty flower posy?
It’s a total mixture, isn’t it, picked from all over the garden.
Lavender, daisies, sweet peas, carnation. That spiky purply one; I don’t know the name. Curry plant. Pink roses.
Now, in story starter terms, you might start thinking about the different flowers and what they mean in the language of flowers. But can I just say that’s a bit familiar?
In fact, what I think this posy does more than starting a specific story, is show how to construct a winning story.
If the posy in this crystal vase – well, ok, it’s more likely cut glass – was all lavender, or all roses, or daisies, it would be perfectly nice, but maybe a bit dull? Conventional? If it was all curry plant – bleh. All those purple ones, nice, but it would die overnight, as these do.
What makes this posy work is the combination of elements. Some are traditional and expected of a posy, like the roses. Some are a bit more unusual, but still familiar, like the daisies, the carnation and the sweet peas. But stick in the curry plant, something unexpected, and suddenly you’ve got something more surprising going on.
So you have your story, and it’s rolling along on a fairly conventional track. Stop and ask yourself, “What if….?” I’m reading a book like that just now. Most of the first half has been from the viewpoint of the mum of the family (I’m not saying what it is because my next sentence is a plot spoiler!). Now, at the mid-point, she’s just stepped off the kerb in front of a car and been wiped out. And I’m thinking, Ooh, now what?
One last point: these flowers came from all over my garden. Your ideas will be like that, treasures scattered far and wide, needing you to bring them together.