I admit it – I enjoy putting together jigsaw puzzles. To me, it’s like finding out who did it – like it’s a mystery. Once I unpack a new puzzle, I pull out the border pieces – taking special care with the corners. They are akin to the cornerstones of my writing: characters; setting; conflicts; and the last corner – the plot. I build the borders, giving the puzzle a firm frame. To me, this matches how I build the structure and parameters of the story.
I like to search out like colors and build on them – sort of like I build scenes and chapters in a story. It’s a thrill when I see a bridge from one colored part of the puzzle to another. Similar to seeing the plot-line coalesce together.
Sometimes there is a hole, and I think there just can’t be a piece that fits in a place. I fiddle and pound, but no piece fits. So I have to go back and re-look at the pieces I have already locked together. Every time, I will find that a piece I thought fit, but wasn’t right. As soon as I remove that one, I move the pieces around and sure enough the hole disappears – just like plot holes in stories that disappear when you change things around.
When I get to that part of the puzzle that is difficult, and I just have to slog along until I can find one piece at a time that fits. Just like sometimes when I write, I get stuck and just have to buckle down and labor through a part of the plot that I find difficult.
When I get to the end of the puzzle and one piece is missing in several places – I have to figure out which of the pieces left, fit in the holes. That’s fun as those pieces just naturally fit once I look closely at them. Unless of course, the piece is under the table! Then I struggle to get the right ending. You look, and scratch your head and wonder how that picture possibly can fit together. When I finally scour the floor, the chair, and all the rest of the possible places that the piece could have hidden, what a kick when the last piece is found and put into place! Ah, just like finishing a story and knowing that it is the perfect ending.
How about you? Do you put your stories together like a jigsaw puzzle? You can comment below.