Hello August, right? Last full month of summer, back to school for kids in my area, as in they’re in school today! When I was in school we never went back until after labor day. I liked it better that way.
I’m putting together a new story. It’s fun! It’s challenging! It’s like a puzzle sometimes.
We talked last month about the ingredients of a story. Today, we’re talking about making them all fit.
As you can see by the picture above I’m working on a puzzle. To be honest, it takes me longer than it used to. Getting older has taught me patience! Ha! (And truth be told, I’ve found it to be a way to relax in the evenings.) The pieces are all there, (I hope!) and they all have a unique place in the puzzle. I can’t wait to see this one when it’s finished. It’s going to be beautiful!
For me, the pieces of a story puzzle have to be written in order. I can jot a note about what’s happening later in the story, but I find it hard to write a scene out of order. I’ve found the way I work best lately, (our processes change over time, don’t you think?) is when I’m finished with a chapter, I take a notebook and write the points of the next 3 scenes. The first 3/4 of the novel are trying to balance how to make it worse for the main characters with them getting to know each other and falling in love. Again, putting the puzzle pieces together to where they fit perfectly.
Sometimes the pieces are in the wrong place. I’ve realized at times that the scene is too early in the book. It just doesn’t fit. And, like in the last puzzle I completed, there was an extra piece. It belonged nowhere in the puzzle. Some scenes just need to be left out.
Liked we talked about last month first drafts are the key to putting the puzzle pieces together. There’s no magic in typing the words, The End, but typing those words sets a writer on a journey to complete the puzzle so the readers have a great read.
I have a few newspaper clippings that I’ve saved for years. They sparked interesting story ideas, or characters for stories. I haven’t run across the stories yet in my brain that they belong in, but maybe one day they’ll be a piece of the puzzle in one of my stories.
So, I have to know—do you like doing puzzles? Why or why not. Oh, and I have to tell you I have 3 cats. I have to cover my working puzzle area with a beach towel and set glass bowls on it so they don’t move it. They bat those pieces around and just like that, missing piece! If you comment, your name will go in a drawing for a $5.00 amazon gift card to go toward buying a book!
Pam Whorwell says
I love puzzles but mostly do them on my phone or tablet.
My mom uses her tablet, also. She loves it!
Erin Stevenson says
I used to work on a lot of jigsaw puzzles, but have let that go since I started writing. There are only so many hours in a day! But when I did them, I had a cat named Lucy who always managed to hijack a piece of the puzzle, no matter how hard I tried to cover them up.
My writing process is very different. I write the opening, then the ending, and then I address the “muddle in the middle.” I guess I look at the process of writing a book like a journey. I have to know the destination before I plan the trip. And when I say “plan,” that’s not really accurate. I don’t make an outline or write anything down. I think of scenes, and then I start typing. The best times are when the characters take things in a totally different direction.
I totally get what you’re saying about moving the pieces around. Sometimes it becomes obvious that a scene needs to be moved earlier or later.
Erin—I love the term “muddle in the middle.” How true! I also love how everyone has their own process. And I should probably be writing instead of puzzling. But sometimes I just need that relaxation.
Sabrina Templin says
I haven’t done puzzle piece puzzles that you handle foreeeever. I was barely given a 350 piece puzzle from a friend to keep me busy while i have a fractured foot. I neeed to work on it. I do do Word Puzzles daily like Facebook’s Words with Friends.
Sabrina–I hadn’t done one in a while until recently, either. I forgot how much I love doing them.
Jessica B. says
I enjoy working puzzles and, like you, have to cover them when I’m not working on them. My cat loves to come flying onto the table, roll around on the pieces, and then pick them up and chew on them.
Jessica–Isn’t that the truth. And yes to the chewing. I don’t get it. :) I’m looking into a puzzle mat. Have you seen those?
kim hansen says
I don’t have the space to do puzzle right now. Hoping to have more space soon.
Kim—I answered you in another persons comment, but maybe you could try the tablet. :)
I’m not a puzzle person.
Jcp—space is important. Maybe you could use a tablet or phone until you have more space?
JCP–We all have our likes and dislikes. :) Nothing wrong with not being a puzzle person.
Hi Lindi! Grandkids go Back to School August 30th, which is my oldest grandson’s 16th Birthday. He had a rough year attending virtually, and has been doing credit recovery summer school. We hope the three kids will attend physically this year. Was a difficult decision since each kid in the family attended a different school (high school, middle school and elementary). As a whole our community and schools did well last year. Yes, I to remember school starting after Labor Day and in Michigan many schools still start then, except this year Labor Day is later therefore schools are starting the end of August.
Personally I am not fond of puzzles, since I am spatially challenged. But being 7 decades old, I try to do a 64 piece puzzle each day with an iPad app. Try to give my brain a workout. Have to stay young for the grandkids. LOL Enjoying the nicer weather in Michigan – 70s, sunshine, and lower humidity. Enjoy your day. Gift cards are always welcome for avid readers like myself. Thanks.
Renate–Well, we have something else in common. Our oldest grandchild, Ally, starts school on her 16th birthday as well. August 5th. How fun!! Our kids are going back to the school, and we hope it continues–they’re excited as a lot of counties were virtual, too, last year.
Enjoy that great sounding weather in Michigan.
I do like working puzzles, though mostly I do them on my computer now. They can get rather pricey, and for awhile, you couldn’t find them in the stores, due to covid!
Trudy–I was surprised to pay 15 dollars for a puzzle I ordered. I did have a couple around the house that I dug out. I can see why quarantine would make puzzles scarce, although I never thought about it.
I forgot! I was going to say, too, that before I started working at Cancer Care Centers, my Daddy was a patient there, and Mom told me that they kept a puzzle in the waiting room for patient’s and the ones waiting for them to do. So, after I started working there, Mom decided to donate some of her puzzles. After I left there to be home as Mom’s caregiver, we still donated a few that Mom had forgotten about and could no longer do.
Karen Jennings says
Hi Lindi, I like working on puzzles and when I taught preschool, the kiddos loved working the puzzles. My aide and I taught them “how to” and then let them go. They quickly got the hang of the smaller 5-8 piece puzzles, so I brought out the 24-piece and floor puzzles! They used the puzzle center every day.
Karen–Yes! Children love puzzles. How fun being able to teach them and watch them complete it. :)
I sometimes like doing puzzles but it depends on how much time I want to spend doing it
Angeline–This one I’m doing now is going much slower that the one I finished in June. The pieces are smaller, I think, and there are so many of the same color all around the puzzle. I just take my time.
Shannon Taylor Vannatter says
I love the comparison, Lindi. And I love jigsaw puzzles. Mine don’t look as orderly as yours, from the top down. I work nilly willy around the edges. And my puzzle is in our sunroom where my cat stays at night. He’s 15 though, so he doesn’t bother my pieces unless I drop one in the floor, then he’ll bat it. Like he doesn’t realize he can bat them as long as they’re on the puzzle board. I’m good with that.
My first drafts are mostly dialogue with a little emotion and introspection. I have to go back and weave in setting and description with more emotion and conflict. Just like a puzzle.
Shannon—There’s a reason why I work down–because my back hurts from standing if I do all the edges first! So I decided to work down and keep moving up so I can stay seated.
And i’m a first draft dialogue girl, too!!
Oh, you have unearthed our kryptonite! My Gail and I are not just avid puzzlers, but more like rabid puzzlers. Not just jigsaws but crosswords, sudoku, Candy Crush, solitaire, logic puzzles, you name it. Between puzzles and reading, we pass our days in bliss and denial of reality! :-D Grocery shopping? Nah, there’s still cornbread mix and tuna cans in the cupboard. Pharmacy run? Whose turn is it? You got dressed for the day, you go. I can’t go, I’m about to finish the sky in this 1000-piecer. You go.
We are the people who, if someone has set out a puzzle on a table at a party, are working that puzzle all night long. 500 pieces is good. 1000 pieces is better! Oh, and looking at the cover picture is cheating. Yup, we’re that bad. Lord have mercy.
If you haven’t seen it, check out http://www.bitsandpieces.com for puzzles and accessories like storage tools to help cat-proof your puzzle.
Lincoln—-how fabulous—but I must say, I look at the cover a million times. I can’t imagine not looking. You guys are the puzzle champs for sure. Thank you for the link. I will check it out. Oh, and we went tubing Saturday and I kept thinking, I could be home working on my puzzle, so I totally get it.
Alicia Haney says
Hi, yes I love working on puzzles, I love them because it is a good way to exercise my mind, plus there are some really beautiful ones out there. Have a great week and stay safe. God Bless you. I enjoyed reading this post.
Alicia—I’m always looking for the pretty puzzles. Or cats. Never go wrong with cats!
Amy R Anguish says
Hi Lindi. I love puzzles, but I have nowhere to leave them out right now. Maybe someday when the kids are grown and gone, I’ll have room to do things like that. We used to always do one when we got together at my grandparents’ house for the holidays. Every time someone walked by that table, they’d put another piece where it went. Fun memories.
And I also keep a notebook to jot down ideas for future scenes because I don’t like writing out of order. Nice to know I’m not the only one. :-)
Amy—There are seasons for everything. And hello to a fellow scene jotter!
I used to do jigsaw puzzles and love the Charles Wysocki 1,000 piece ones. Though I haven’t picked up one in ages as I just don’t have the table space. I’m thinking about buying a small foldable table just big enough to do them though because I kind of miss it. When I put one together, I always do the edge pieces first and then work my way inward, I find it easier to do this way. I also like doing the crossword puzzles in our local paper.
Our kids start school the day after Labor Day in September and go until the second week or so in June. Growing up in Illinois, I remember starting early August sometime around my birthday on the 9th until end of May. I kind of like the later start because in my mind, August is still summertime, lol!
It’s always interesting to me how each author has a different writing style, but just like in life, we each have our own way of doing things that work best for us. Sometimes we even switch things up a bit to suit our changing needs. Thanks for sharing your method Lindi!
Trixi—I don’t think I’ve done a Wysocki one–but I was eyeing them. Maybe after I’m done with this one. And yes, August is still summer. Plenty warm to swim and sun and picnic!
Mary Preston says
I love all kinds of puzzles, including jigsaws.
Mary—I don’t do too many other kinds. A crossword now and then. I really like them, but I always have to use a pencil because well, eraser!!
I like to do puzzles, sometimes. I just couldn’t get into them during the pandemic and I was given three.
Denise–now you have 3 to do when you’re in the mood again. :) How fun!
Amy Perrault says
I like to do special puzzles not all. I love mostly dogs ones.
Amy—animal lover, too! I like the cats for sure. :)
Sylvain P says
I don’t mind online puzzles but I’m not a fan of normal puzzles cause they just take up room & I just don’t have the patience.
Sylvain—I talked about the patience part in my post. It’s difficult! I’m learning.
I am late but I do like doing jigsaws. I haven’t done one for a little while cos I have 2 cats and one likes to get into everything. I have had cats before (one at a time) and they never went near the jigsaws but Libby has a paper fetish and is likely to chew the pieces. Henry is likely to try and sleep on it.
Jenny–We had another comment regarding the cats eating the puzzle pieces. They are crazy cats for sure. Mine like to scoot them over then push them off the table. Hmmmm…
Absolutely I love puzzles, especially jigsaw puzzles. I used to do physical ones, though with age and a tendency to become engrossed in them, my back tolerates digital ones far better and no little hands or claws (don’t know why the birds are so attracted to them) can interrupt them.
Dianne—I’m with you regarding the back. It’s strange how if I work too long on it, even my neck starts to hurt. The joys of turning sixty!!
I enjoy doing puzzles too! I find it kind of therapeutic to focus on finding where the pieces fit, and its always fun whenever you find several in a row that go together. Thank you for the chance to win!
Megan—Yes–I love it when you start seeing certain sections filling up. Gives me hope I can finish!
Debra J Pruss says
I struggle with seeing as well as putting the puzzle pieces together. If I can put larger pieces together with an online puzzle, I can do that. Thank you for the opportunity. God bless you.
Natalya Lakhno says
I love puzzles! Real ones…not on computer!
She S says
A physical puzzle seems daunting now, I’ve done electronic puzzles for so long now. Interesting to hear how a puzzle is like writing a book!