Writing a novel is like starting a jigsaw
I’m about halfway through the very, very first draft of Another 18 Reflections and 3 More Statements of Relief, this is the follow-on to 18 Reflections and 3 Statements of Relief. I have been collecting ideas for this novel over the past 2 years and started drafting 6 months ago. During this time I have taken breaks to work on other books, more especially when the creative muse deserts me. I’m fine with this process, the story coming together organically as I find new characters to embed or locations to describe; it really is a voyage of discovery as something starts to take shape out of nothing. Nevertheless, while I have the overall direction of travel – and mixing my analogies - what the final jigsaw puzzle might look like, I do not yet have set it in stone. I don’t know how I will connect the dots between the plot, the men and women, or how to bring the book to a suspenseful crescendo, this challenge being the joy of writing.
As such, as I was eating my cornflakes I decided, that rather than ploughing on writing in the knowledge that I would shuffle the pieces around when writing the second draft I should be a little more methodical. That I should visualise / map the main characters, the relationships between them together, and the main plot lines. It only took me half an hour but this investment in time I feel was well spent. The result is the graphic above and which might look an electronic scribble to you but which gives me absolute clarity as to what I need to do and resolves some of the questions of how to join the dots / putting the jigsaw pieces together that I have been struggling with over the last weeks.
It is for these reasons the lead character in Paperback Writer gives this description to his craft.
“Writing is like starting a jigsaw puzzle with all the pieces upside down - you know there is a picture in there somewhere but haven’t got a clue what it will look like or where to start".