Why Writing a Novel Is Not Like Building a Puzzle


As I sorted through the pieces of a 3,000-piece puzzle, it hit me that 3,000 is a lot of pieces. I spent at least an hour just finding all the edges.

50,000 is even more pieces. I thought about how each word in a novel is like a puzzle piece, interlocking perfectly with the words around it to create a large, awesome picture.


The words don’t come nicely cut up and packaged in a box. You, the writer, have to find each one in the world around you.

You don’t get a 600 dpi image of the finished image handily printed on a box. You get, maybe, a thumbnail. The picture gets larger and clearer as you go, but never exactly matches what you’re building.

Besides that, a lot of the pieces don’t interlock as smoothly as a jigsaw. Sometimes a jagged edge fits best beside a curvy one. And there are always extra pieces that you could swap in. The puzzle never seems finished!

Compared to writing a novel, building a 3,000 piece puzzle is relaxing. Maybe that’s why I’ve been itching to build one.

Luckily, there’s a magic spell you can cast over your finished “puzzle” that will beguile all readers into thinking it’s super awesome.


Happy Yarning.


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