Today, we’re wrapping up a long series of guest blogs by Cindy Martinusen Coloma on her “Puzzle Method” of writing a novel.
We’ve reached the last step in the puzzle method. It’s pretty much the same for any method of writing – the final polish.
Step 9: PUZZLE COMPLETION
* Set the book aside for 1 or 2 weeks if possible.
* Print & Read (aloud if possible) – reading it in hard copy will allow you to see more mistakes and
* Give another polish.
* You have a completed novel now. Now CELEBRATE your accomplishment – treat yourself to something great. You deserve it, and no one but you and other writers will understand the accomplishment fully (so don’t be disappointed, but DO treat yourself!).
* Now share the book ONLY with readers you trust to tell the truth: a critique group, professional reviewer, or take it to a writer’s conference. Read the editing books (Self-editing for Fiction Writers is one of many) and work hard.
* And remember you may be polishing and revising till the end of your life – just kidding, sort of.
And there it is! You have a novel!
I hope this helps those of you who have been struggling to fit into other methods.
I struggled for many years until finally I trusted what worked best, then I started analyzing it. Keep experimenting with your writing, always push yourself to something a little harder than you think you can do, and keep breathing life into words. Because really, every time you write a sentence, you’re gathering word puzzle pieces and creating something of wonder.
Thanks for this opportunity Randy. It’s been quite an honor and a wonderful experience!
Randy sez: Thanks, Cindy, for sharing your method with us all. Let me note a recent comment:
When this course is finished, I really want to go over it as a whole. I’ve been too busy on other stuff to focus on it all and only got bits and pieces, and I can see now what part of the process I can use now as I near the end of my novel. Your archives are supernaturally backed up, right Randy??
Unless there is another way to pull these together as a whole, I want to copy/paste these posts all together into a neat, formatted file, if that’s okay with Randy and Cindy. I won’t charge much for it (kidding!). And if it’s okay with you guys, I’d be glad to share it with anyone else who also wants it all in one file. Is that okay? Would homemade cinnamon rolls tempt you to say yes?
Randy sez: I’ll ask Cindy about that, since she owns the rights to the Puzzle Method.
By the way, check out a couple of domains that might be of interest to you all.
Wonder who owns www.SupremeDictatorForLife.com? Can you guess?
Also, look who grabbed www.SnowflakeMethod.com. Doesn’t that make you mad? 🙂
Daan Van der Merwe says
Very impressive! 🙂
Gerhi, I deleted your last letter (and your e-mail address) by accident and would like to remain in contact.
You are welcome to phone my office. The number is in the Pretoria directory under Uys & Coetzee Attorneys.
Gerhi Janse van Vuuren says
Randy, sorry for the sidetrack here.
I am sure I can dig up your email address Daan. Otherwise email me at: my first name with an x behind at friendly Google’s free email service.
I appreciate Cindy’s sharing of her method. It has helped me a lot with being comfortable in the way I am working.
“I struggled for many years until finally I trusted what worked best, then I started analyzing it.”
I would like to do that, except the first struggling bit. I haven’t tried to write seriously for more than 10 years. To kick of now and trust what I’m doing is the right way is very difficult.
I have found that everybody has a system and 99% of other people’s systems won’t work for me. They would in fact stop me from working altogether. So I take the titbits from other people’s methods that I can use and I chuck the rest.
The only trick is to know what to keep and what to chuck.
Gerhi Janse van Vuuren says
And now a question (and possibly an idea for what to cover next Randy – hint): In my novel I have scene that takes place in the toilets of a Mall.
But I’m not sure toilets are the right thing to call them. Loo’s doesn’t seem right, lavatory is worse. Is it Men’s and Ladies or what.
We used to talk about the little boys room and the little girls room.
So, the question in two parts: what do you call a public loo in America, and how do you deal with these regional language anomalies?
Robert Treskillard says
Those are fun web addresses! Technical question on this … what method do you use to forward them to your advancedfictionwriting.com site?
I’ve been confused on whether you do it “temporary” or “permanent”, and if permanent, what method. I’ve heard you can be dinged by the search engines because they think you are posting duplicate content when you actually are not.
Sheila Deeth says
Many thanks, Randy and Cindy. I’ve loved this series, and it’s very timely for me, as I’m starting one thing and tidying up another both at the same time. Helps to remember which stage each one is in.
Gerhi, the most common, polite term is ‘restroom’. But there are also a number of other terms, some quite colorful, so my guess is that your choice might depend on the character’s social-economical-educational status.
I am also writing characters and setting outside the familiarity of my country. I am trying to learn what idioms and expressions are used in modern day Scotland and have begun looking for a pen pal there who can help me find the correct idioms and phrases to use. I hope to find an author, actually, or someone with an understanding of the current language.
It’s funny how easy it is to forget that another English speaking country would use entirely different phrases and expressions. What’s up with that?
Thanks for sharing the puzzle method with us! So little time — so many puzzle pieces! 🙂
Yes, thank you for sharing this method. It helps me a lot in knowing that there is logic in not working chronologically.
I’d also be interested in a doc with all the steps in one place.