Friday, January 22, 2010


A favorite family past-time was puzzles, and the more pieces the better. It consumed an entire table, bits of locked together sections circled by stray pieces awaiting their fate. A thin layer of fuzz, remnants of the cutting process, covered everything.

"You're not pushing hard enough," my dad would say with a chuckle when I tried to cram two mismatched pieces together.

"Maybe I need scissors," I'd counter.

A month ago I wrote a short story and the other day, I realized it didn't work. I liked the characters and enjoyed the general feeling, but it failed. It was just like those mismatched puzzle pieces. There were gaps between the seams and the picture made no sense. Like I was connecting the body of a cow to a barn door.

The problem is, unlike a 1000-piece puzzle, I had no lid to glance at for direction. That's when I closed my laptop, got up from my desk, and hoped I'd find a way to piece it together without any guidance.


  1. I think you need to know where your story is going characters are nice but they can draw a story away from it's point.

    Even a short story is supposed to say something. When you know what you are trying to say, you have a beacon to guide you.

  2. Sometimes the guidance sneaks up on us from tidbits that only real life can offer.

    Backshelfing a project for a bit is often the best way to bring out the flavor of what it was meant to be.