by Julie Tollefson
And that’s when I learned something new about my husband of 25 years. We have completely different approaches to solving puzzles.
He examines each piece and tries to determine where it fits in the big picture. “Is this part of the turkey, do you think? It’s got to be the turkey, right?” I glance at the piece he waves in front of me, but if it’s part of a turkey, it’s not a part I can identify. Instead, I search for shapes and colors, my focus so completely on these details that when we step away for the night, I’m surprised to see a picture taking shape. (I shouldn’t be. That’s the goal, after all. Sky, trees, and a bit of turkey—nice!)
Sometimes (often?), my approach to writing closely resembles my puzzle methodology. I concentrate so totally on developing a scene or a bit of dialog or a character’s actions that I lose the bigger narrative picture. I have to metaphorically step back and take stock of where the story is and where it needs to go.
The details are important, very important, but they are part of a whole and each one has to work hard to fit into that whole.
|Things that make a gloomy day less gloomy.|
Oh, and one other classic lesson reinforced during Ice-pocalypse weekend applies to both puzzles and writing: Sometimes, you just have to step away (maybe read a good book by the fire, sip a good whiskey) and come back to the problem with fresh eyes.
What's the most surprising thing you've learned recently? How do you spend your time when Mother Nature threatens?