Finding the Piece to the Puzzle

Although it may seems as though I’ve been hibernating these days, I can assure you all I’m very much awake and active. No big secret—I’ve been busy writing. Winter is usually my most productive time since I’m around the house more and can give it more of my attention.

DSC03291A few weeks after Christmas I started working on a jigsaw puzzle, not just because I enjoy challenges, but because I can come back to it whenever I please or don’t please. Sometimes while I’m burning cooking supper, I’ll take a few moments and study the pieces. The really funny thing about puzzles is, you can look for a certain piece until the cows come how, even convince yourself it must have got left out of the box when it was manufactured, and then you’ll come back to it and find it just like that. A snap of the finger.

I’ve been puzzling my way through a story at the moment, looking for the missing pieces that will help bring it all together. It’s frustrating because no matter how much a writer writes we come upon these roadblocks from time to time. I went through this phase while writing my latest novel, knowing, as I was writing it, something didn’t feel quite right. Something was missing and I couldn’t decide just what that something was. Even as I wrote, “the end” I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something more I could do, some other way of telling this story. And why the heck was it evading me like this?

Sometimes we writers get an idea in our heads of just how a certain story has to be told. Once it settles into our brain we have a heck of a hard time making it leave. Surprisingly, I awoke one morning with the answer to my dilemma. I’d found that missing piece. Turns out it wasn’t anything so complicated. The answer was actually so simple I couldn’t understand why it took me until the very end of the book to figure it out.

I found one of the missing pieces I’d been looking for in my story this morning. It actually came to me through the night and I feel quite good about it. Of course it was there all along. It always is. Life isn’t always the mystery we believe it to be. Mysteries only exist when we have some of the information but not the answer. When the piece we’re searching for finally rises to the surface it feels as though things are finally beginning to fall into place, but the answer was really there all along. Sometimes we just have to wait for it to appear.



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  1. Wise and sensible , a reminder when overtaken by our “instant gratification” society.

  2. Laura, do you ever find yourself talking in characer to solve the puzzle? Do you try to engage your main character to give you hints, ideas about red herrings? Some of those pieces have slid under the frig and I have to go and dig them out … or I’ll be in the middle of the highway and it will fall on my head. Have a great hybernation. Winter is the best time to hunker down to read or write a good book :)

    • Florence, it always amazes me when that piece of the puzzle simple arrives from out of nowhere, and at the oddest times. The ones that slide under the fridge serve to remind us that sometimes we have to go looking, it’s not as simple as the right piece falling down and hitting us in the head. In the mean time, I hope to sneak out of my cave from time to time. Thanks for dropping by. :)

  3. I know we’re supposed to be talking about putting together puzzles as a metaphor for writing stuff… but I just had to comment on the fact that Charlotte has completely changed my puzzle methodology. I was always a firm believer in “make the border first” but Charlotte always likes to start with “The First Eye”, building whatever face, or recognizable thing she finds, and going out from there. It works pretty slick, especially in kids puzzles.

    I see you already know this, though, since you’ve not finished your border, but have a hefty chunk of the middle done.

    Now let’s pretend everything I just wrote was a super deep metaphor about looking deep inside your characters before sketching out the intimate details of their lives or something like that.

    • Funny, because Brian insists on the border first. I’m like Charlotte, I look for the pieces that fit together when I look at them. I have no problem beginning in the middle..Of course, you know who won out… I’ve also noticed that while searching for a specific piece I’m still looking to match up the colour while he looks for the shape of the piece. It means I’m trying to put all kinds of silly pieces together. He studies the pieces until he find what shape might fit. I guess I write like that sometimes too. Could be that’s why it takes me so long to put a story together. :)

  4. Great analogy, Laura. Pretty puzzle you have there, at least what I can see of the colors. You’ll have to show us when it’s finished.

    • Thanks Patti. It’s coming along very well, although I’ve had some help. It’s been good therapy as I work on my novel. :)

  5. Oh, I do know how you feel. I had a similar experience last week, and I’m writing too! I finally passed the 50K count. I’m so excited. It truly is a wondrous thing when the pieces come together and you can the image and what shape it’s taking. Awesome.

    • It’s is wonderful when we reach a certain place in our writing and it all starts to come together.. Congratulations on reaching 50k!

  6. Dear Laura
    You know I had a strange dream.. about hanging off a high rise building about to fall into the sea.. and am crying and screaming.. and after some times.. as I lose my strength, I realise that the bars on the railing are wider than they should be and I might fit in .. I got inside the railing by squeezing through the bars.
    This dream is kind of trying to tell me to look the other way and that the solution is right there, in front of your eyes.. sadly, I haven’t found the solution yet. I don;t know. Am in perilous moods.
    I hope and pray that I find my missing piece too.

    • I’m sure the missing piece will show up when you least expect it! Sometimes when we actively look for something, it keeps evading us. Perhaps if you just relax and have faith that it will eventualy show up, it will. Here’s to you finding that missing piece. :)


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