“Puzzle pieces fit,” my character Byrne reflects. “Fitting was what they were made to do. Didn’t need to force them; when they were right, they fell together on their own. When they didn’t fit, either the pieces you’d gathered were the wrong pieces, or the puzzle was bigger than you’d expected.”

Without meaning to, I have described exactly what I’ve been going through in the book.

Plots are puzzle pieces. Made of liquid. The writer spends an extraordinary amount of time gathering them—and often, this is an activity that’s like trying to give shape to a handful of ocean. One must work to fit the odd-cut bits one to the other; to coax from them a sense of order from which the pace appears. By the time one is finished, an image should have emerged from the random shapes.

But sometimes the puzzle itself is a trickster.

Sometimes, a piece will offer possibility in more than one spot in the overall picture. Place a nose puzzle-piece in the expected spot, and you have a perfectly acceptable face. Place it in another, and you have a Picasso. Suddenly, what seemed so perfect front and center seems much more impactful somewhere else. Then what?

That’s exactly what I’m going through now. The revelation of a main character fit perfectly well where I’d originally placed it—it will work quite nicely there; but placed somewhere else, it brings a drama, a reasoning, that didn’t exist before.

Which place is better for the puzzle piece, the story, and my emotional wellbeing? That, friends, is the task at hand, these days…finding a logic that is neither here nor there—but which might per perfect for either.

Advertisements