This week: What Grows in the GardenEdited by: Kate ~ Retooling
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All that I see or seem is but a dream within a dream.
Edgar Alan Poe
"If there were no mystery left to explore
life would get rather dull, wouldn't it?"
A mystery is an answer in search of a question; knowing what's been done and journey to discovering the how and why of it. It deals with something unknown to the reader, which the writer reveals in bits and pieces with both subtle and overt clues, drawing the reader into the puzzle. Welcome to this week's edition of the WDC Mystery Newletter, where we enter and explore the puzzle for ourselves and our readers.all that I see or seem is but a dream within a dream
Greetings, I'd like to explore 'planting' and 'digging up' clues -
What would you do if/when you unearth some bones in your garden or yard?
What kind of bones?
You dig them up, show me the puzzle.
I call gardening playing in the dirt. I know where the bones are buried, I believe. Don't worry, my neighbor told me it's a ferret, he thinks. Let's say it is. My garden this summer is blooming with florets that will be squash, cucumber, eggplant, and this year the wandering deer are not noshing on the tender leaves nourishing the blooms. What's so different about this year, this crop, this garden soil?
All this is rich compost for a mystery ~ nature holds clues aplenty for the wordsmith to fashion into a mystery. As we tend our summer veggie (and flower) gardems, it's the perfect time to observe the life that abounds in nature, to build a puzzle with straight stalks, enticing flowers, and, yes, those pesky weeds (herrings) to discard or turn into the soil for compost. As we tend our summer gardens, it's the perfect time to observe the life that abounds in nature, to weave a story of intrigue, mayhem and mystery.
The gardening mystery is generally a soft-boiled one, with attention to the characters and their interaction with each other as well as the surroundings. The garden is tilled, planted and tended, in chief, by an amateur sleuth, who may or may not enlist the aid of a professional.
Perhaps a summer thunderstorm traps one in a blueberry patch, sheltered by surrounding oaks carved with hearts and names from centuries past. Maybe the nightshade is just so enticing that one doesn't realize it's growing around poison oak dripping dew into the gardener's morning coffee. The scenic descriptions, having your reader partake of the experience with all his/her senses is germane to the gardening mystery, as the setting is often a bed of clues (and perhaps a red herring (a gold band buried in compost, mayhap, or a shovelfull of red 'clay' in a fresh bag of compost?). What have you planted in your garden?
If you enjoy flower or vegetable gardening (remember, playing in the dirt ~ hmmm, a clue perhaps there?), cultivate herbs, or simply appreciate and enjoy the splendor of a warm day in the garden or a field, add a bit of intrigue, fellow wordsleuth, and there's a mystery to delight your readers.
To expand your technical knowledge and make your story believable and 'natural,' consider subscribing to an herbalist or a gardening magazine (or check one out at the library). As well as helpful resources, such publications are potential markets for your story or poem of mystery and intrigue. Much of the fun in reading a gardening mystery is in the details - how far did she dig before unearthing a bone, a metal splint; or how far to bury the items? Why did she conceal/reveal her find? What a unique violet hue on those tomatoes. See where I'm going here, a single question can yield a fertile harvest of possibilities for the puzzle; clues and miscues, thinning and harvesting the clues.
If you've tended your garden of words and have composted and tilled a cool gardening mystery ready for print, perhaps you might consider submitting to one of the publications which for decades has welcomed both emerging and established writers and do let us know when your story will appear *write*
Kate ~ Retooling
How fertile the garden, how rich the compost, how fruitful and varied the harvest in prose and verse ~ join in the experience, perchance with a review, and maybe share some of your own 'gardening' tips and secrets.
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Delight in the growing season (up north) and imagine likewise down south tending your garden of words ~ who know what you'll dig up. Do pass along the fruits of your garden (remember to compost the herring ~ too hot for stinky fish)
Until we next meet, may your gardening mystery bloom resplendent.
Kate ~ Retooling
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