Today we’re going to start a new series of guest blogs with a friend of mine, Cindy Martinusen Coloma. I’ve known Cindy for a long time — I met her years ago at a writing conference. She is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and it’s always fun talking with her. I’ll be seeing her again in about a week at a conference where she’ll be teaching her “Puzzle Method” and I’ll be teaching a mentoring track.
I’ve asked Cindy to join us now to give you all a preview of the Puzzle Method over the next few days.
Here’s her bio:
Cindy (Martinusen) Coloma has written eight novels to critical acclaim. She is a national and international speaker/teacher and co-owns Method 3AM Writing Services which offers aspiring to published authors helps in manuscript reviews, critiques, book doctoring, mentoring programs and in developing brand and websites. Since 1997, Cindy has co-led a monthly writers group near Redding, California. Check out her web sites at www.cindymartinusen.com and www.method3AM.com.
Cindy’s newest release Orchid House just came out in February. It was written by “The Puzzle Method,” is set in the Philippines and is told through three conflicting POVs — an American woman, a Communist rebel leader hiding in the mountain jungle, and a Filipino boy soldier who wants to be like Magnum P.I.
Randy sez: Cindy has been telling me about her Puzzle Method for a few years now, but I’ve never got the whole story. I’m going to get it now, and so will you. I gather the Puzzle Method is about as far as you can get from the Snowflake Method while remaining on the same planet. That’s good! It means there are options. Not everybody loves the Snowflake, which doesn’t bother me. Different folks need different strokes, like they say.
(By the way, if you Google “puzzle method fiction” right now, guess what the top result is? That’s right — this blog. I’m guessing in a few days, the top return for “puzzle method” will be this blog. We’ll see.)
Anyway, I’m turning the floor over to Cindy now:
BLOG 1 – INTRODUCTION
Introduction to the Puzzle Method of Writing — not the “puzzling” method, let’s make that clear from the start.
This was my problem.
I don’t like fiction outlines, and I don’t end up following them anyway.
I don’t write best by starting at Chapter One.
I don’t create detailed character sketches, it takes the life right out of them.
And Randy’s “snowflake” is revolutionary to many, but it just might kill me.
Michelangelo said, “I saw the angel in the marble and (I) carved until I set him free.”
When I write, there is a hint of something, a story or a character or a “something” that I see in the marble — though not fully — but nearly and most definitely there. The story wants to come to life, longs to be brought into creation. And so the words are tools, carving at the marble to set the story free.
Now if that sounds overly esoteric, don’t worry. The next days of my guesting here on Randy’s blog will be given over to instruction on how to create a novel from story puzzle pieces or from out the marble (and I promise not to overdo the metaphors).
So, I’m introducing to you “The Puzzle Method” which is an out-of-order way to write. It is a style for people who get bogged down in pre-writing and pre-organization of a novel. After nearly two decades of creating stories and learning the craft, I now easily trust that this is the best way I create a novel — or even a short story or article.
I hope this and Randy’s work will help you find your best writing method with less trial and error so you can get to the work of setting angels free.
Randy sez: Every writer is different, just like, um, those pesky snowflakes. Rah, rah for diversity! I’ll be looking forward to the next post, when Cindy gets down to details on the Puzzle Method.