Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

Welcome Visitors

Friday, April 6, 2012


Today for the A to Z Challenge I'll ruminate on germinate. It generally means "to come into being" or "to grow". From the Latin, germinatus, to sprout. First used in 1610.

I love to garden and I love to write. Both require germination. Seeds need sun, moisture, a thin layer of dirt and time. In story germination, one needs to free-write, outline, research and do lots of lucid dreaming.

One helpful tool for plant germination is eco-friendly plant fabric that lets in sun and water, yet keeps temperatures warm and pests out. A helpful tool I've found in organizing nascent story is the Scrivener corkboard feature, with its virtual Index cards on which you can "jot down" plot points and then reorder endlessly. Find out about Scrivener here.
The Scrivener Virtual Corkboard
Seedling Tray

When plants get bigger and outgrow their seedling trays, they must be transplanted directly in the soil. When a story gets richer and more fully fleshed out, one must plant it firmly in a laptop file, and plow straight ahead to the end, only to go back to the beginning and revise. Both need love, patience and smart pruning.
The Voynich Manuscript, from around the Renaissance

Perhaps, you'll combine writing and plant images in a mysterious tome, such as the Voynich manuscript, which depicts alien plants and a blurb in a language that no code breaker has yet figured out. No kidding. Check out this Smithsonian site.
But first, leave a note about what germination means to you. How do you grow your plants, your story, your life?


  1. This is a very neat post - at first I read the title and thought about germs, not planting. I'm germphobic and that didn't sound fun. I've never really been good at keep plants alive, but maybe I should try it. I saw on a movie once that a person should have a plant and keep it alive for over a year, then a fish, a pet like a cat or dog (each for a year) before considering having children.

  2. I'm a very organic gardener when it comes to writing. No boxed hedges or straight rows for me. Just a scattering of seeds in what I hope are aesthetically pleasing arrangements. :)

  3. LG, me too. I often write scenes out of order, and usually write the last scene way before I officially get there.
    Krista, that's funny about thinking germination means germs. Well, they do use the phrase "the germ of an idea" as soomthing like a germ that implants itself in your psyche.

  4. i think next year i will try some seeding again!

  5. Oh I love the connection between gardening and writing. I've currently got spinach, calendula, peas and tomatoes in almost seedling state. Interestingly enough I also have a novel in the seedling stage as well. Here's to them growing together!

  6. I'm not good at gardening. I once killed a plastic plant on accident.

  7. I'm glad I'm better at writing than I am at gardening! I'm growing mold spores and bugs, at the moment. Seriously. And like Rick Daley above me, I've killed fake plants. All it takes is one good suck of a vacuum cleaner and you can mangle a lovely silk plant and effectively "kill" it.

    Fortunately, my skull makes a decent greenhouse for ideas, and stories often fall to the page fully grown - as if my characters dictated them.

  8. Hi Catherine I came over from the A to Z Challenge. I love the connection between gardening and writing - although I'm not much of a gardener ;-)
    I've heard so many good things about Scrivener but am afraid to use it lol...I am worried about transferring from MS Word to Scrivener and screwing up the formatting etc..
    Nice to meet you!
    also participating in A-Z

  9. Rachel, I use Scrivener mainly for outlining. Then, I move back to Word. Holly, love your using your brain as a greenhouse of ideas. I often refer to my own mind as a brain garden-I'm not kidding. Rick and Holly, your comments about killing plastic plants made me laugh. Tatiana, good luck with that growing "seedling manuscript" to a healthy green plant.

  10. Here's a huge *WOOT* for Fireseed. That's one book that germinated beautifully and is now out there for the lucky readers.

    My germination process for plants is easy: In the greenhouse, put the seeds in in February, plug in the handy heating pad, keep moist and wait. By April I've sprouted 6 kinds of tomatoes, 2 kinds of squash, peas and pole beans, along with new herbs. I wish I could say my writing process was this easy. Lot of sleepless nights involved. :-) I do have a heating pad though. That helps.

  11. Love this post! Nice analogy between gardening and writing - couldn't agree more. And I have to say you've piqued my curiosity about Scrivener. Always mean to find out more about it, but somehow never do. Thanks for the reminder!:)

  12. C Lee, you're way ahead of me. I don't put seedlings in until Memorial Day at our Catskill place, because a frost can occur even in May. A greenhouse close to the house would be divine. My fave plants are root vegetables-parsnips, carrots and potatoes. Digging them up is like finding buried treasure.

  13. I like Scrivener a lot for story development.

    As for gardening, I'm still very much a novice...

  14. I had to write a metaphor for my final product in the teaching college, and I did growing a rose and teaching children. Funny how this idea can apply to several different tasks. :D

  15. Germinate is such a beautiful word!
    I've tagged you in a Lucky 7 meme post here -
    Have a great week!

  16. This post was very helpful to me. It was well researched by the author. Here is an latest profile about color blind test online. The inability to identify certain color variations is known as color blindness.