Monday, July 8, 2013

Puzzler

The other day I was doing a puzzle with my daughter, Pretty Girl.  She started with only pulling half the pieces in the box out. She doesn't understand yet the idea of the whole picture.  She sees little flashes of color and thinks they're pretty and tries to smash them together regardless of fit.  I tried to explain that picture isn't complete without the background, edges and neutral colors that make the bright colors seem brighter. But at three years old this concept is a little difficult for her.

When we write we need to use all our puzzle pieces.  We need the idea, the flashes of color, but we also need the craft, the grammar, the dedication that hold those flashes together.  Grammar may not be the most exciting puzzle piece (and if it is don't tell me cause then I'll worry about your mental state) but it's a puzzle piece that can make the story shine.  It's grammar that get's the idea across appropriately so readers can understand what you're saying.

We can try to just write the shiny bits and smash them together into a story, but when you step back from the puzzle and look at the whole we'll be able to see the missing pieces and awkward fit. So go ahead and pull all the puzzle pieces from the box.  Dust off your unused writing skills and lets see what kind of picture we can write today.

What other writing puzzle pieces can you think of?



24 comments:

  1. I like this analogy and I always seem to leave some pieces in the box.

    I think you touched on the most important pieces, though I'd have to throw 'patience' in there, as well :)

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  2. I like this analogy! Characters, events, plot lines and subplot lines are more linear. I'll do random character studies on various people I see out in the real world and later piece them into a story. News tidbits are done the same way.

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    1. Great way to keep ideas for future stories.

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  3. Great analogy I'd never thought of. And yeah, at 3, your daughter may be a bit young to get the whole idea of it. But if you keep working on it with her, she will get it.

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  4. Interesting analogy. I'll be pondering this for the rest of the afternoon. :)

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  5. Replies
    1. And I'm missing a few pieces yet...; )

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  6. Winning analogy, Sara. Kinda like how I say I traded my LEGO bricks for words. You can build the same house with the same shaped blocks, but the one with matching colors will look better than the mixed assortment. :)

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    1. Well, the mixed assortment has it's place.

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    2. Exactly - and that's why you never judge a book by it's cover. :)

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  7. ha ha, loved this...I hate jigsaw puzzles... and now I know why!
    I definitetly need to try harder to see the whole picture:)

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  8. Love this analogy, Sara. I'm in the early stages of a new novel. When I sit down I want to write all of the "good parts." The real work is stringing them all together in such a way that the whole thing is good.

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    1. Well, writing all the good parts is a good way of getting the story out there to begin with. You can't string scenes together if there aren't any.

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  9. Oh goodness, you might worry about my mental state!

    I really like this analogy, it fits extremely well. And honestly, the mental image of a frustrated three-year-old smashing together puzzle pieces compares quite nicely to a frustrated writer forcing words where they're not needed.

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  10. This is a.fun post. I throw a few tantrums from time to time. Sometimes trying to pound a square peg in a round hole provides an unexpected twist or turn in the plot that really works.

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  11. Joy. The joy of the story that lit your fire once upon a time.

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  12. I'm definitely better at writing than I am with puzzles. One requires a lot more patience than the other. :D

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  13. Your analogy made me realize something. As in putting a puzzle together, I always hesitate to put in the last cluster of pieces. When I do, I know it's over. The puzzle is solved. In writing, when I get to the end I begin to slow down because I don't want that fresh first draft feeling to end. When I'm reading a wonderful book, I feel the same way. I hate to say goodbye. Interestingly, I never put them all together before. Thanks, Sara!

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  14. I love puzzles but I'm always afraid I'm going to get to the end to find I have a piece missing. And wouldn't you know, I worry about that in my writing too, lol!

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  15. Now you've got me thinking.
    I write isolated scenes that fit into the story somewhere along the way. I must decide which one belongs where... mmm... and even though some are interchangeable, they are more effective in a specific place in the storyline.
    Writer In Transit

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  16. Nice analogy. I haven't done a real puzzle in years. Perhaps I should remedy that--time permitting, of course.

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  17. I feel stronger with my dialogue puzzle piece than I used to!
    I miss doing puzzles. Unless I could finish in a day, though, I think my cats would destroy all my work...
    Besides, I'm supposed to be editing! [g]

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