Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Puzzle Pieces

I tested for my 2nd degree black belt in taekwondo this past weekend. At the graduation, my instructor told the class that having a black belt was like having a 300 piece puzzle dumped out on a table. He said something like, “You have all these skills and now you have to figure out how they fit together.” 
I’ve been feeling this way about my current novel. (If you can call it that; I’m only five, lousy pages into it. Sigh.) I have all these ideas and scenes and bits of research and thoughts scattered on the figurative table in front of me. And the challenge is putting them all together when I’m not even sure how the final picture should look. 
I don’t know about you, but I’m terrible at jigsaw puzzles. I just don’t have the patience. But I guess I’ll just what I usually do - find those edge pieces first.  
Any other tips for putting those novel pieces together? 


  1. I love this analogy! And congrats on your 2nd degree! Wow. Just wow!

    I'm in the middle of revision myself with Gilded. I made a list of the major areas that I need to fix for the book which are big plot changes and internal character changes. So I'm tackling each issue at a time. I have a checklist next to me what to look for in each chapter.

  2. Carmella, I actually enjoy jigsaw puzzles, but they are much easier than getting all the pieces to fit together in my novels!

    Like you, Christy, I'm working on some major plot changes for my novel. I like your idea of having a checklist! My scene list (just a file which includes a brief description for each scene in the book)is what helps me kept on the right track.

  3. Congratulations on your 2nd degree black belt! That’s an incredible accomplishment. I really like your sensei’s analogy.

    -Any other tips for putting those novel pieces together?

    I sometimes write scenes out of order and then later put the puzzle pieces together. :) Before that I figure out my main characters’ problems (what do they want most and what will they do to get it) and pit them against each other. I find the story arises from the characters’ wants. They desperately keep striving for their goals in their usual manner until they’re finally forced to acknowledge that their usual reactions/ solutions aren’t working and they look for solutions using a different method. Good luck putting all your story pieces together!

    Wishing you all the best with your writing and your martial arts journeys.

  4. I like what Gail said about characters pushing forward while you keep pushing them backwards. :) Beginnings are hard when you think too much about how badly you want a finished book in front of you. Just have fun with your character and let yourself be more goal oriented later in the process.


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