Putting the Puzzle Together
In my last blog post I discussed how to find the puzzle pieces of your story. (You can read that post here.) Now let’s talk about how to fit the pieces together once you accumulate them in order to create your big picture.
Before going any further, I must point out that the writing process is different for everyone. The puzzle approach is my process. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t force it! If you already have a process that produces the results you desire, don’t change what you are doing! But for those of you still looking for your approach to writing, I hope that sharing my puzzle process helps.
I begin by organizing my story into subsections by loosely selecting subheads/chapters. I say loosely because, as we all know, these can be edited and changed later. I then begin to write under those subheads/chapters. If I’m writing an article, I copy my transcribed portions of my interview(s) and paste them under the appropriate section.
Once I have the meat of what I want to say or quote from my sources in the correct section, I then weave the text together through introductions to the topic, smooth transitions, and quick conclusions (if needed).
Next comes the conclusion of the story. I tie up loose ends, make revelations, and call readers to action (if appropriate).
Lastly, I go back to the beginning. It would make sense that an introduction, perhaps a prologue, would come first since that is what your audience reads first. However, I find it easiest to prepare your readers for what’s to come after you’re written the “what’s to come.” Treat your intro as that last piece of the puzzle—the one you stuck in your pocket in the beginning of the project so that you could have the extreme satisfaction of pulling it out, declaring, “I got it!,” and slipping it into it’s perfectly portioned spot.
As I mentioned earlier, this is MY approach to writing and doesn’t necessarily have to be your new approach. If you do choose to give my puzzle process a try, let me hear from you! I’d like to know if you found the approach helpful. If not, what did you find difficult in the process? If you use a different writing process, I’d enjoy hearing about it as well! In the end, whatever works is the key!