Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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February 26, 2024

A Pomegranate Method of Writing a Story

By Kris Maze

Woman writing at table with pomegranates

To write a good story, one that speaks your truth and sparks interest in readers, you can use a variety of story-writing methods. Today, I want to inspire your story writing with a fruit twist. Consider this a free-formexercise to try if you need a little energy infused into your writingroutine. Combined with these ideas are past blog posts by our WITS writers with writing tips on each story element below.

Why a Pomegranate?

This blog post about my made-up story method is concocted from playing with my food,specifically a pomegranate. A fruit that one of our WITSoriginal writers,Jenny Hansen, proposed that I try. Sadly,I couldn’t even identify one from bins in a produce department. But that has changed, dear writers, and as it turns out, the fruit is delicious, entertaining to eat, and an inspiration for writing new stories.

Getting to the Good Stuff: How to open a pomegranate

Until Jenny suggested it, I had never tried a pomegranate that wasn't blended into some kind of smoothie or sprinkled on top of a salad, so this was a very new experience for me.  But as I began to dig into the fruit, I discovered many other ways to enjoy it—and noticed its similarities to writing a book.

When you begin to write a book, you have a simple idea. And, like a pomegranate, your story idea can also be formed into different renditions. It can be molded into a short story or a lengthy epic fantasy. It can become a sweet, happy tale or take on a creepy tone. But it will take some work to make it into the masterpiece you want it to become, and there are many ways to go about it.

Likewise, there are also many methods claiming to be the best way to extract the delicate seeds from the pomegranate’s membranous rind. Some say the best way is to squeeze the seeds into a bowl of water. Others found that whacking a half of it with a wooden spoon proved to be the most effective. I found that carving out the top and tearing into the fleshy thing was the most satisfying.

While planning your story, you have many methods to consider. Some may be more attractive to you as a plotter, pantser, or plantser, but however you approach your story process, it should cover the basics. In my pomegranate story analogy, I ask you to consider the plot, characters, setting, and more.

Story Elements

The Rind: Plotline

The rind of the pomegranate holds the fruit together, neatly packaged in a structured way. Your stories will need an identifiable structure, and unlike the fruit, plotting structures come in many forms. A well-written novel will typically have an overarching action, with subplots and miniature story arcs within it.  Whether your go-to writing structure is the classic Three Act, the adventurous Hero’s Journey, or another like the Snowflake Method, you will find an organizational pattern that reveals your story in a logical manner.

The rind has a tough, opaque outer shell, keeping all the deliciousness hidden until the right time. This is like the series of actions that takes your reader on a journey through twists and turns in your book. 

Readers may be peeling through book pages, but it is similar to parts within a pomegranate. While peeling the fruit, you can see pods of seeds grouped together within the pillowy peel. Think of the groups as acts within your story and the pithy film holding them togetheras the transition to the next act.  Peel through your story and see how it flows. How does your story reveal its major plot points?

Seed Clusters: Scenes 

The seeds themselves are also organized in neat clusters. Consider the seed clusters as scenes, and the seeds themselves as actions or key dialogue that can move that scene along.  As you write your story, think of the seed detailsthat form each scene and the sequences that form your acts or similar structure. How you connect these scenes and where you lead your reader can give them a different experience with your story. 

How many scenes you use in your novel depends on many aspects of your story. Genre is an important consideration. A fast-moving whodunitmay have more twists and turns in the plot, whereas strong world-buildingmay form more of the content of a fantasy or historical fiction novel. The age range (middle grade, young adult, new adult/adult, etc.) of writing will limit your scenes, as younger readers tend to enjoy a shorter book that matches their developmental attention span. Ultimately, you may use as many scenes as you believe will best tell your story.

One method for planning a novel involves math to calculate the right pacing for your story. The StoryGrid method claims that there should be around 33 scenes for a 50,000-word novel. This article by StoryGrid helps a writer break down the scenes of an 80,000- to 100,000-word novel in a step-by-step way. That article talks in more general terms, citing that a story needs at least 15 scenes. If this method piques your interest, check out more at the links included in this paragraph.

Read More

Looking for more information on scenes? Here are past blog posts by our WITS writers and guests. Check out genre-specific suggestions below.

The numberof pomegranate seeds can vary by fruit by as much as 200 to1,400 seeds! How many scenes, made up by actions and dialogue as directed by characters, is up to you. The characters are key to making a compelling story. Let’s check in with this story element next.

An Aril: Characters

Aril is the technical name for the eatable pomegranate seed. Within each aril there is a woody, crunchy part that would develop into a shrubby tree if it were planted and tended well. The aril also has a thin casing that houses the juice that keeps us coming back for more. Our characters are the crunch and the tart that make up the individual actions and speech within our stories. 

When eating a pomegranate, have you noticed that some seeds are sweeter than others? That they may contain more liquid or pop spontaneously, creating a stain on your white terrycloth sweatpants? (Or maybe that was just me?)  The characteristics of each pod of seeds can vary a little as you move through the fruit, but there are some aspects that stay the same. Consider these ideas for your main character and see if you can find some parallels to improve your story.

Maybe you have moved into a bruised part of the fruit and the seeds are not as tasty. Maybe they have been injured, or spoiled rotten. Perhaps you found a core of perfectly ripe arils that shower your mouth with the just-right combo of sweetness and pucker. There may be a few unripe seeds, not eatable at all. Does your character change throughout your story? Do all of the key figures in your story have a satisfying story arc? 

What characters say and do in your novel should be consistent with what is at their core. Be sure to take time to develop your characters. Make them relatable. Make them cohesive, with social qualities, intellect, and physical descriptions that develop an interesting group of unique characters to tell your story.

Read More 

Want more advice on how to write a cast of characters for your book? Check out these blog posts from our WITS archives.

The Pith: Setting and Description

Now that you have peeled back the fruit and uncovered the seeds inside, let’s look at what is holding on to those precious pieces of action that move your story forward. The pithy part is pocked with little pockets where the seed has been plucked. There is a red dot where the seed had connected to the fruit’s soft wall, or mesocarp. It's a lot of specific terms that just point out that setting details vary.

Consider your setting as the magic carpet that brings your reader through your story world, an invisible fly on your novel’s landscape. We are aware that connecting setting is important for the reader to connect to the story, but why? If you have taken any courses by Margie Lawson on her EDITS system, you know that adding setting grounds the reader and helps them visualize what you want them to see.

Margie, donning her green highlighter, will ask writers, “Do you have green at the beginning of each scene?” Include details in the first sentence. Add them throughout each chapter to help the reader understand where the characters are and what they see, hear, feel, taste, and smell around them. A simple, well-chosen noun can do the work of a whole paragraph, so find ways to keep the story going, while at the same time keeping the reader informed.

Lawson’s methods are masterful at helping authors braid together the parts of good writing in each chapter. Her immersion classes are worth joining if you want to take your writing game to the next level. Take a look at the classes, webinars, and handout packets that are available on a variety of writing topics.

Read More 

Here are some classic posts by WITS writers who have shared their insights on creating great settings.

Taste Test

Here are some questions to ask about one of your recent projects.  Use these ideas to shape your next story. Thinking in different ways about your work can help you get unstuck. Reflect on these questions and add new aspects you didn’t consider before!

  • How did you structure your story? Did you use a commonly used story method?
  • Does your story structure have an overarching plot that could be described in three to five sentences? What are your subplots?
  • Can you describe key events that move each part of your story from one act to the next?
  • Can you switch up the order of your actions or dialogue in each scene for greater impact?
  • How can you keep the reader reaching for the next page or juicy scene? 
  • Do you have sweet and/or tartness available to the reader on each page?

Method or Meal?

Thank you for entertaining my ideas on how eating a pomegranate could help writers form better stories. Perhaps you want to keep your own method of writing, but have now have a hankering to eat one of these fruits. Either way, I hope you continue growing on your writing journey. Maybe there are some nuggets of knowledge you wish to share with our readers, methods you use that help you get unstuck in your writing. Add your favorite writing tip below.

What writing tips or resources do you share with other writers the most? Let us know in the comments below.

About Kris

Kris Maze

Kris Maze, an education enthusiast with a knack for the written word, has dedicated several years to the world of academia. She writes for various publications including Practical Advice for Teachers of Heritage Learners of Spanish and award-winning blog Writers in the Storm where she is also a host.

She published a YA dystopian novel, IMPACT, with a small press in the summer of 2020. Lately, she has been entering and placing in writing competitions, such as NYC Midnight’s Short Story and Micro fiction contests.

You can find her YA fiction, writing coach resources, and keep up with her author events at KrisMaze.com. Find her darker, scarier fiction at her sister-site KrissyKnoxx.com.

A recovering grammarian and hopeless wanderer, Kris enjoys reading, learning languages, and spending time outdoors where she ponders the wisdom of Bob Ross.

And sometimes she enjoys peeling a pomegranate.

Blue Foot, A Sci-fi Story, New Release in Paperback!

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Wrongly accused and exiled, Ernestina Après faces the destruction of her family and her bucolic life beneath the Dome. The Silver-Waters blessings are not in her favor, despite her warnings to the Counsel that the stream and its resources are running out. Caring for a stowaway, she must find a silver-lining in her dire circumstances.

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11 comments on “A Pomegranate Method of Writing a Story”

    1. Hi Vivienne,

      It was fun to write this piece and to connect it to writing stories. I hope it also inspires you to see your stories in a new light too.

      Thanks for the comment!

  1. Hi Kris! This post made me hungry. Lol. Loved it.
    I have a few strong references that I generally give writers: Story Genius (Lisa Cron) and Story Engineering (Larry Brooks). They both speak to different approaches to logical story telling and tapping into the psyche of the reader. I love their approaches.

    1. Hi Miffie,

      Lisa Cron really does get to the heart of storytelling. Her classes are very detailed.

      I believe Ive heard Larry Brooks at writing conferences - and his presentations were eye-opening as far as story structure.

      Thanks for the suggestions.


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