Monday, March 22, 2010


I love the image of writing a novel being like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. When you begin with an idea, it's a jumble of small pieces, and you don't know how they're all going to fit together to make a cohesive picture. Normally, you put together the outside pieces first. Then, you fill in the middle.

As I plot my next project, I feel like I'm working on the all important outside edges. I have to remind myself that if I'm trying to force a character or conflict that just doesn't fit that I should keep looking. There is another piece that will fit perfectly.

Every time I think about jigsaw puzzles, I think about the time my mom and I worked on one for days during a snowstorm that had us stuck indoors. We were almost finished, and we looked around for the last piece. We couldn't find it. I heard the dog chewing on something, and fished it out of her mouth. There was our last piece of the puzzle, covered in dog slobber and almost unrecognizable. I'm not sure what our drool-covered puzzle piece represents in the writing world - rejection, a bad ending...?