The Jigsaw Method of Writing

Picture by Liza

I adore jigsaw puzzles. There is something so satisfying about putting together all those unique little pieces into a cohesive image. Like most puzzle solvers, I tend to stick to the method of finding the border pieces first before attempting any kind of center images. Jei, on the other hand, has a habit of finding the pieces that match the center images first. While it may be like nails on a chalkboard to some, I realized that neither method is superior to the other.

The idea of putting a puzzle together is much like writing. You take many pieces of facts, characters and story and put them together to tell a tale. While I have heard many people state that writing chronologically is the correct way to write, a recent conversation on the topic has turned my opinion upside down. There is actually no real need to write your story chronologically. Out of order writing is an absolutely valid way to create great stories.

After we discussed the differences, I decided to nickname the process “The Jigsaw Method.” The idea behind it is to take whatever piece of the story you wish to write out and put it aside for the revision and editing stage. You are essentially breaking down the story into small sections that can be connected one to another later in your process. This allows people who thrive off of inspiration more than a structure to continue the progress of their story without feeling the pressure of attempting to write the next chronological scene they may be stuck on.

This isn’t to say that the chronological method is invalid, but we do need to start looking at our writing method more as a means to create and not a set of rules to follow to the letter. There is no reason why you should ignore the sudden desire to write one of the later scenes in your book just because your current chapter has not caught up with it yet.

Think of your story as a television show. Each episode is a mini-arc involving multiple characters and a plot line that both furthers the current episode and the overall series itself. Writing episodically does not impede your flow so much as it simply allows you to have another portion to either work towards or consider while writing the other chapters of your story.

So ride that wave of inspiration when it hits you. Write that scene that happens halfway through your imagined book. Do not sacrifice the muse of your creativity upon the altar of structure. Let it flow from you and enjoy the journey of telling the story that every writer has within them.

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