It’s Puzzling

I can thank Jill Weatherholt for my new puzzle obsession.

Actually, it’s not a new obsession—more like an awakened obsession. I used to love putting jigsaw puzzles together when I was a kid. Back then, I gravitated to the 1000-piece puzzles, particularly if they had an image by artist Charles Wysocki. There was something comforting about his paintings—these visions of simpler times.

One of Charles Wysocki’s paintings turned puzzle

I breezed through Target the other day and happened upon some puzzles made with images of his paintings. They brought back memories of many autumn days of my childhood and the large piece of cardboard on which I would assemble my puzzles. But that day in Target, I selected a puzzle with a different image—one that reminded me of summer. (Yes, in the photo above and below, those are ice cream scoops.)

I’m an edge builder. I gather all of the pieces of the edge and put those together. With that framework, I work the rest of the puzzle. What is your strategy for putting jigsaw puzzles together?

I’m sort of the same way as a novel writer. By “sort of,” I mean that I only partially work on an outline—the framework of a story. I’m a hybrid writer—pantser and plotter. I usually work through some of the plot off the bat. But the rest comes as I write. Still, I find it helpful to know the boundaries of the story—what pieces need to be there and how they might fit. Like with my main character. I have to know who I am writing about.

I ask myself: Who are her

Friends?

Enemies?

Family and extended family?

Pets?

How will any relationship conflicts work thematically with my main character’s desires? How much of her back story will I include? How is the setting emphasized? These (character, setting, plot) are the puzzle pieces that I and other novelists sift through as we draft.

Yeah, I know. I didn’t coin the usage of the puzzle metaphor in regard to writing. But as I work on a puzzle and a novel (not at the same time of course), I can’t help being reminded of the connection between the two.

The puzzle metaphor sounds nice and neat, doesn’t it? But if you’ve worked on a book, you know that writing is often messy. So the puzzle metaphor is apt in another way: we’re puzzled about how we’re going to take our mess—all of those pieces we come up with—and make a cohesive whole out of it. As with many difficult puzzles, we often have to roll up our sleeves to solve them. But the satisfaction of seeing the whole puzzle put together is worth it! (And no, I didn’t finish the puzzle above. Look at the first photo. That is what the finished puzzle is supposed to look like. 😀 😁)

Charles Wysocki puzzle from puzzlewarehouse.com. Other photos by L. Marie. Shopkins Shoppie dolls and Apple Blossom by Moose Toys. Black Panther figure by Funko. Shuri action figure by Hasbro.

Time for a Change

Ever been in a relationship where your significant other sat you down and said, “It’s time for a change”? (That always sounds ominous, doesn’t it?) Perhaps you were the one who sat someone down and gave that speech. If you or someone you love felt taken for granted or wondered where the magic had gone, perhaps that was the catalyst for initiating the “time for a change” talk.

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Are you sitting down? Good. It’s time for a change.

Over the last few days, I’ve thought about this blog and the fact that lately I seem to be repeating myself. Some of the repetition is due to absent-mindedness—a product of the various stressors in my life, along with a need to complete my novel (not exactly a stressor).

To avoid stagnation, I mulled over my options. Cut down on posting? Give up the blog altogether? The latter was not an option I considered for long. After all, relationships take commitment. And I’m committed to this blog and to you who read it.

Change Photo

They’re committed, too, though you might not wish to know exactly to what they’re committed.

So cutting back to posting once a week was the best option for the time being. I don’t want to wear out my welcome after all. I’ll see how that posting schedule plays out. However, I might occasionally have to post twice a week for special events like interviews, cover reveals, and other book-related announcements.

Ironically, this is my second post this week. But I had to post again in order to make the announcement about posting once a week. 🙂 I haven’t decided yet on what day I’ll post from now on. I’m mulling that over.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll continue leaving the light on for me. 🙂 Have a great rest of the week!

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Clock from sweetclipart.com. Lamp from clipartlord.com.