Last summer, while I was playing around with the idea of elemental mages, this one air mage kept showing up in my daily practice. It made sense to try to find her story. But when an idea presented itself, it brought with it earth mage Minerva Watts. I became so fascinated with her and her story that I determined to grow it into something.
When I wrote the original short story, I challenged myself to write it in Third Person Present, a POV I’ve never written before and tend to run right over when I read. (It can literally take me 90% of a story to notice this particular POV when I read it.) It was definitely a challenge, but I survived…until I decided to expand it into a longer story. At the time, I was working a lot with the Scene-Sequel structure, trying to get a feel for it and what it could do. But it wasn’t working for this story.
In very short order, I also blew through an attempt to blend the seven-point structure and Scene-Sequel, and a brief flirtation with the Pixar storytelling method.
Part of the problem was that I had two strands going – the town’s story and Minerva’s story. A simpler structure was necessary to keep things going, and it turned out using the seven-point structure alone was exactly what the story needed. So I laid out both threads, trying to figure out where and how the stories intersected, and I kept Pixar’s core message approach to help guide Minerva’s side of the story. After more struggling (because this really was a learning experience for me), I finally came up with something I liked.
You are welcome to check out “Potted Soil” over on wattpad, along with the original short story “Healing the Garden”. (There is also a narration available for “Potted Soil”.) I included it for those who might be interested in seeing where I started after seeing where I ended up, although if you’ve been thinking about expanding your own work you might find some inspiration…even if that inspiration is how not to do it.