Today, we’ll do another installment from Cindy Martinusen Coloma on her “Puzzle Method.”
But first, a wrap-up on the book I’ve been reading, DEAD MAN’S RULE, by Rick Acker. I finished reading it today and it was AWESOME. I don’t use that word lightly. I’ve been reading thrillers for a long time and have read many of the masters in legal thrillers, spy novels, international intrigue, etc. DEAD MAN’S RULE is one of the best I’ve read. You can get it on Amazon here.
I’ll now yield the floor to Cindy for another installment in her Puzzle Method:
Onward we create! Depending on your goals and progress, getting to this stage could take 1-6 months. Make attainable, but tough goals for yourself.
Step 5: CONTINUED PIECES FOR HALF TO 2/3RDS THE NOVEL
* There comes a time to start putting it all together, connecting the pieces and filling in what’s missing. For me, this is after 50,000 words at least, maybe as much as 75,000 words.
* Print the mess out – a rare few people may work better on the computer at this stage, but I highly recommend printing it out.
Step 6: RE-ORGANIZATION & STRUCTURE
* Cut out the scenes, paragraphs, sentences. Organize what belongs in each of the three sections – beginning, middle, or ending.
* Now organize each of the three sections by putting your everything in an order, keeping in mind plot progression, development, and rising plot toward climax
* Note: This may seem a backwards way to create structure since so much has been written. But this method is for writers who already have a strong handle on structure and find they write with more passion and flow by creating piece after piece until the story and characters comes forth. (Don’t forget TRUST)
* What doesn’t fit – save in a file (on computer or hard copy)
* If needed, create a solid plotline or outline now (go to the Snowflake if you’d like).
* Note: At this point, I often change from daily work count deadlines to PAGE DEADLINES. It’s more important to start connecting and making a cleaner story at this stage instead of just creating more scenes. Even if you still skip around in the writing, you should know how many rough pages
Now you should have a clear structure of your story usually from beginning to end with holes in between – you’ll see missing elements. Often a few surprises come to me about this point as well that raises the stakes of the novel significantly (yep, I want to dance on the car again). By the way, I just watched portions of Sly Stalone’s bio. I didn’t know he’s written Rocky and that he had offers for the screenplay, but they didn’t want him to act in it. He held out and won that fight – can you imagine someone else as Rocky. But he said about writing that a writer just KNOWS when he’s got it right.
Randy sez: I’ll second that. When it’s not right, you wonder, but when you nailed it, you usually know. We’ll do another installment of the Puzzle Method tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Gerhi Janse van Vuuren says
Ok, Randy must have posted this while I was writing my comment for the previous post. Isn’t it great that we live in different time zones. Where we are we are halfway into Friday already.
I have been working on random scenes in my novel. As they trigger an idea. I am at just over 8 thousand words at the moment.
What I have been doing so far is keeping things in an order. At the moment the order is mostly chronological. I have scenes that are quite extensive and places which says something like “There is a big showdown.” This way I am aware of where the gaps are and I believe my subconcious is working all the time trying to fill those gaps.
I had a complete idea of where the story should go but by writing scenes almost randomly the most interesting things started popping out. It means I have to work backwards to make some things make sense but I’m very excited about that.
Another point: I just finished reading Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. I haven’t enjoyed a book so much in a very long time. It is the kind of book I want to read a couple of times to figure out how he makes it work. It is also the quality of writing I strive for. Though , and very ironically, I found at least two continuity faults in the book. Shadow the main character is walkign barefoot at one point, and then, a couple of pages later, he stops to take of his shoes. I guess this happens to the best of us.
With Randy’s permission, I am posting a contest I am having on my blog until April 1! I hope you will all help me out and participate! Thanks, Randy!! (Just click on my name above or go to http://homeschoolblogger.com/karlakakins).
Pamela Cosel says
I have to thank you for this series on Cindy’s Puzzle Method. I am the kind of writer for whom this method seems to fit better, than say, your Snowflake Method. As one whose expertise is work as a journalist, meaning non-fiction articles, the Puzzle Method is analogous to how I’ve composed such articles–only I hadn’t named it.
The Puzzle Method of novel writing now takes away the fear for me of completing such a big project because I am already familiar with this way to approach it–just didn’t realize it until reading Cindy’s blog posts here.
Thank you for allowing Cindy to teach us how she makes it all work.