WRITING AND PUZZLES

Hi SEers! Denise here to talk about all the parts that go into creating a book, thanks to a question I was asked.

I have my six-year-old granddaughter twice a week when she gets out of kindergarten. So, we spend the day doing projects, homework, or finding new ways to look at life. One of those days, we were putting a 100-piece glittery unicorn puzzle together.

My granddaughter asked, “What if 100 people each had a part of this puzzle?”

I replied, “They would all have to work together to get it done like we’re doing.”

My answer satisfied her, but I kept thinking about it. How hard would it be for 100 people to work together to get something done? Would one or two of these people hold back their pieces? Very possible.

The more I thought about it, I realized writing a book was very much like putting a puzzle together. The different parts of that process were a piece of the finished product. I put a list together of ten major puzzle pieces, with smaller pieces mixed in, that go into writing.

  1. The idea. It can arrive at any time, and through many processes. It is the first puzzle piece placed.
  2. Schedule time to write. Much like there is time devoted to brushing your teeth, pay your bills or exercise you need to schedule a time to write.
  3. Where? It could be at a desk, park bench, coffee shop, or in your car. Get creative!
  4. Begin to write or plan. You can start writing or outline the idea depending on what type of writer you are, pantser or planner.
  5. Write the story. After the initial excitement, don’t stop adding to your word count even in that middle lull.
  6. The end. You have your first draft or that outside frame done on your writing puzzle!
  7. Let it rest. Come back with a fresh perspective by taking a Me-Day or work on another writing puzzle.
  8. Begin to edit. Tighten up your prose by taking it chapter by chapter reading it or having it read to you by a program on the computer. Watch for overused or unnecessary words, telling over showing, or anything that impedes the story flow. The more you educate yourself, the easier this part will be.
  9. Share your work. Critique groups and beta readers are invaluable for honest insight. They can find the puzzle piece you dropped under the table. Don’t have one? Reach out to other writers, it may take a couple of tries to find someone compatible but when you do their advice will become invaluable as yours will to them.
  10. Find an editor. This is a part I don’t recommend skipping. They will make sure all your pieces fit correctly.

Although I only listed ten parts of writing, you still aren’t done. There are a few pieces to go. You’ll need a cover, blurb, formatting, and to upload it on a site to sell. You can do these things or hire someone depending on your skills. Don’t forget to get it copyrighted to protect your work. Of course, you might have a publisher, and then most of these pieces will be placed for you.

When you get to this point, your writing puzzle will be complete. Every part has cooperated, and now it’s time to celebrate your accomplishment!

How do you feel when all your pieces fall together to create a beautiful writing puzzle you can finally share?

80 thoughts on “WRITING AND PUZZLES

  1. I enjoyed your analogy. I am just starting out with my novel writing and I am learning exponentially from those like you who have had a much longer relationship with it. I just took longer to find that first puzzle piece! Now I am fascinated to find how all the others fit together. thanks for your accessible overview.

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  2. I like to put together a simpler puzzle called tangrams. I’m sure you’ve heard of them. Jigsaw puzzles are okay up to 500 pieces. When I accomplish one, I feel as though I’ve completed a task. Writing for me is a way for me to complete a task and generate outcomes to questions I’ve had. I learn from the stories and books I write, though I’m a dreadful novelist. I do them anyway.

    I am new to your site, so hi, my name is Kaela.

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    • Hi Kaela, welcome:) Yes, I’ve worked on tangrams, especially with the grandkids. They are fun. Like you, I prefer the smaller puzzles, especially if limited on time. It does offer a sense of accomplishment when finished, just like writing a book. Happy to hear your are writing, it’s a great journey!

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  3. I think the best questions and answers come from a child I am always fascinated by their thoughts processes uncluttered by life I suppose…We have gravitated away from unicorns and pretty pinks and blues…such a shame as I loved that time …I like how you wove that question into a blog post a great analogy and so true 🙂 xx

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    • I agree the best questions and answers do come from kids. They have such a pure way of looking at life. This period doesn’t last long enough, but it offers such wonderful memories. Thank you, Carol 🙂

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  5. Your granddaughter has your writer’s genes, Denise. A child’s question can be simple yet profound to adults, they just don’t know yet. I love this post about the connection between writing and puzzles. We’re solving puzzles every day! Some puzzles have 4 pieces or like my friend’s that has 18,000 pieces. 🙂

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    • She is definitely a thinker, Miriam. The world through their eyes can be very profound! We sure fo hsve puzzles to solve daily. A 18,000 piece puzzle…yikes! Has she completed it? That’s quite an undertaking.

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      • They are so observant and come up with great questions, Denise, even from my three-year-old grandkid. My friend and her husband completed the puzzle. We don’t have the patience to do more than 1000 piece.

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  8. Thoroughly enjoyed this post, Denise, and loved the analogy. The whole thing really IS a puzzle, isn’t it? Then again, so are our lives, in many ways. (What’s going to happen when I try out this thing here, and give up that thing there?) I like how you’ve set this up, and know other’s will, too! Thanks for a new and different way to look at the process. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Marcia 🙂 Yes. I agree you can approach many things in our lives like a puzzle. Getting all the pieces together to see the whole picture. Thanks to a thoughtful question I saw a possibility. May all your puzzled pieces all fit together!

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  9. Puzzles and writing! What a perfect analogy. I find many little steps within each step slowly getting to the final finished piece. Putting a puzzle together and creating a published book involves hard work, patience, time, creativity, joy, and so much more. Thank you for sharing.

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    • Thank you, Karen:) Yes, so many little steps to get us to the bigger ones. There is so much more involved besides sitting down and writing the story, but that sure is the fun part of it! I agree about the hard work, patience, time, creativity, and the joy it all ultimately offers. Xo

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  10. It is like a puzzle with all those pieces that have to come together just right. Then there’s the puzzle of finding just the right words and working them into sentences and paragraphs! Just that alone can be an 80,000 piece puzzle! And what a question from your granddaughter, Denise. So delightful.

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    • You are right, Diana, it can be an 80,000 piece puzzle! So many different areas to work on we’d better like doing puzzles! Yes, it was a question that brought a smile to my face as she outpaced me in the puzzle department.

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  11. Your granddaughter’s question, 100 people having a puzzle piece, could be the basis of a story. I like the way you break it down. Complex problems are always easier when we break them into solvable chunks.

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    • You’re right it could be a story, I could easily see a kid’s book explaining how to break things down into easy steps. Good idea, Dan!

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  13. It feels great when the first draft is done, but I’m always more nervous than excited when the book goes live. It takes a while before I can enjoy it. This was a fun post. Spending time with grandkids is such a joy, and what a great question she asked. A deep thinker.

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    • It is a celebration to finish the draft as well as a relief to take the story to a conclusion–some never make it there. There is an excited nervous to hit that publish button as you share it with the world and await the worlds thoughts.
      It is a joy spending time with the grandkids. She is definitely a deep thinker and came into this world with her eyes wide open.

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    • Thank you, Craig 🙂 It’s fun when a question can trigger so much after thought! Yes, the thrill of a new idea and putting it all together is fun. Nothing like getting to the end, I agree. The reviews…yes, difficult to wait for but if it’s put together right they should be encouraging.

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  14. Denise, this was a fun analogy, and one that makes it easy to envision that final result. For me, the best advice I have gotten is just what you mentioned–write till the story is done, don’t stop (even to edit). That was freeing for me and helped me finish my first book. Thanks for this post, Denise! I also loved the unicorn!

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    • Thank you, Maura Beth! It is good advice to keep going until you are done. Then you can worry about those smaller details, and pieces, when you edit. The unicorn was a hit with my granddaughter, and I hated taking it apart later. It is one we will do more than once for sure!

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  15. I love the analogy of the puzzle, Denise. Writing a book is very much like putting together a puzzle, a piece at a time, making sure it fits and makes sense. Great tips shared here today! Thank you for the visual of the glittery Unicorn puzzle! Just gorgeous!

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    • Thank you, Jan 🙂 It really is like that. Some days it fits together nicely, other days you can’t find the piece you need!
      Unicorns are my granddsughter favorite that, along with glitter. I couldn’t wait to share this with her.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. What a great analogy, Denise! And just like a puzzle, when one of the pieces is unknowingly hidden under the table, frustration can set in. Lol! But when you see the whole picture in its entirety, every moment was worth it. 🙂

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  17. I have to agree with Mae. Finishing that first draft gives me a sense of accomplishment. But when the book goes live… No feeling like it.

    I like that you used the puzzle analogy. If you miss one piece, the finished product isn’t complete. Great post, Denise!

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    • Yes, Mae brought up the two parts of writing that earn a vocal, Yay, from me:)
      Thank you, Joan. Finding that piece can be difficult but satisfying to place!

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  18. Great analogy and imagery, Denise. I love it! I couldn’t help but envision working on a puzzle with my grandkids and how satisfying it would be to complete it together. You’re right, there are great similarities to writing. 💗

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  19. I don’t think there is a more satisfying feeling for an author than when they hit the end of a draft. The only thing that manages to top that is the publication of their work when all those puzzle pieces are finally in place. Great comparison between writing and building a puzzle, Denise. And I love getting to see the glittery unicorn!

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    • Those are definitely the two high points of writing a book 🙂
      You can’t go wrong with a glittery unicorn and I hated to pull the puzzle apart later to put it away.
      Thank you, Mae:)

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    • Isn’t it funny we both came to the same conclusion about puzzles and writing.
      What a great way to write while working on a puzzle and having that thought process for writing available that puzzles tap into. Thank you, Jill!

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  20. Hi Denise, this is a lovely post. I like the analogy between writing and a puzzle. I often use that analogy for my day job work. To day, I have been fortunate and not experienced any middle of the book lag. I just write towards my planned ending along a more or less pre-determined path without any stops or pauses. I am delving into a sci-fi now and having great fun exploring what would be required to sustain human life on Mars in the long-term.

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    • Thank you, Robbie:) I can see how this comparison would fit any detailed project. Glad to hear you aren’t dealing with middle lag! I’m excited to hear you are working on sci-fi. I would enjoy researching Mars and the possibilities of sustaining life there. Happy writing xo

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