Finding the Puzzle Pieces
Writing, for me, is a puzzle. Each piece—a chapter, subhead, etc—fits together to form one cohesive picture—an article, a book, a short story, etc. Although I always have a general point in mind, I don’t worry about the outcome until it’s done; I don’t always know what direction I will go in. I may know that I want my picture to be of a house, but until the pieces are carefully fitted together I don’t typically know what type of house I will have in the end. It may be a warm, welcoming home full of light and laughter with a handmade wreath hanging on the front door, a puppy romping in the yard, and smoke emitting from the chimney of an inviting fireplace. Or it may be a lonesome house with empty, echoing rooms, chipping paint on the front porch railings, and loose shutters clanging against the faded siding in the wind.
The discovery of the final picture is made by searching my soul, delving into vast creativity, talking with sources, discovering information…finding the essential pieces. My background is mostly in trade publication, and I’ve learned to rely heavily on sources to provide the crucial pieces of the puzzle while I provide the sturdy, framing pieces. Once all the pieces are together, the story takes shape.
How do you approach your writing? Do you allow your story to form as you go, or do you prefer to have a clear outcome and methodically find a way to make your point? No one way is right, as long as we are comfortable and happy with our work in the end.
Next time, I will talk about how I piece my puzzle pieces together to form my final picture. For me, it’s a formula that I didn’t even realize I had settled into until I had already been writing for several years.