The Puzzle Methodology | ACFW Weblog


By Kristi Holl

Beginning a brand new novel will be overwhelming. Our minds leap round as we fill dozens of coloured sticky notes with snippets of concepts. Ultimately we find yourself with tons of of bits of data. The place will we begin to make sense of all of it?

One summer season I discovered an answer when placing collectively a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle with my household. Preliminary pleasure on the attractive mountain scene on the field was adopted by an amazing pile of puzzle items dumped on the desk. Many days later, we had a wonderful image appropriate for framing.

The parallels had been clear. After that, I started to make use of a easy “puzzle technique” to plan novels and calm that overwhelmed feeling I expertise in the beginning.

Getting Began

When starting a puzzle, I discover the 4 corners, which offer anchors for my image. I method my novel the identical approach. The 4 anchors of my story embody the setting, my essential character, the plot style, and the theme. (For instance, the 4 “corners” of my novel-in-progress are 1850s England, a vicar’s daughter, thriller, and the 23rd Psalm.)

Plotting and Outlining

Subsequent, in assembling a puzzle, I take advantage of flat-edged items to hyperlink the 4 corners and make an image body. Likewise, in my novels, I subsequent join the 4 corners (plot, essential character, setting, theme). What are a number of methods they’re joined?

  • The plot shapes character progress.
  • The setting influences plot improvement.
  • The principle character’s presents and callings impression the plot.
  • The theme (God’s reality that you’re illustrating) impacts the climax and ending.

Framing the novel is each thrilling and nerve-wracking. All the time pray as you’re employed. “God won’t fail you nor abandon you [however will information you within the building] till you could have completed all of the work for the service of the home of the Lord.” (1 Chron. 28:20 Amp.) I want steerage within the building!


After the puzzle body is full, you continue to have 900 items to fill the gaping gap within the center. Use the image on the field to kind the items by main shade or function. Depart the small particulars for final. Likewise, I subsequent define my novel with main pivotal scenes and strange options and characters. This provides me some construction.

After including essential options to the middle of your puzzle, you’ll nonetheless have about 400 items left which can be principally blue and inexperienced. Heaps of sky items. Heaps of tree and grass items. At this level you develop bored with searching for the “excellent” piece. Often you drive a “almost proper” puzzle piece to fill the outlet. You hope nobody will discover and press it all the way down to preserve it from buckling.

It’s the identical with our novels. However when a personality or plot twist “buckles,” the Holy Spirit could also be saying, “This doesn’t match right here.” We generally ignore the nudge, hoping our critique accomplice or editor or agent received’t discover the little misfit. However they do. Ultimately we be taught that when the Holy Spirit tries to “course appropriate,” we’re smart to cease overriding His voice.

Veteran puzzlers advise that each time you might be confused, seek the advice of the picture on the field. Remind your self of the ultimate image. Additionally they warn you to be affected person. In case you get pissed off, you would possibly abandon your puzzle. Novelists additionally face confusion and frustration. We, too, have to keep it up so we are able to finally say, “I’ve glorified You [down here] on the earth by finishing the work that You gave Me to do.” (John 17:four Amp.)

So, the subsequent time you need to arrange a mountain of scribbled notes in your new novel, do this thought. Piece by piece, put it along with the puzzle technique.

Use this simple “puzzle method” to plan your next novel. @KristiHoll #ACFWBlogs #writingtips Click To Tweet

Kristi Holl had forty-eight juvenile books revealed with each Christian and mainstream publishers earlier than deciding to write down for adults. When writing her eight novels for adults, she re-discovered her love for historic mysteries. A type of novels options Jane Austen. A Harmful Tide continues to be housed as we speak within the Jane Austen’s Home Museum in Chawton, England.





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