A Puzzled Writer?


The other day, I was hanging out with some of my writer peeps, when someone proposed the question, “Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?” One by one, everyone in the group claimed their tag and quantified it with an explanation justifying the label. The Plotters bragged about their ability to methodically orchestrate their manuscripts chapter by chapter – scene by scene. The Pantsers sung their song about free creativity and the ability to let their characters lead the way.

Soon the spotlight was on me. At first, I tried to come up with a word that would marry both writing styles, but nothing sounded right. Then it occurred to me that I’m a totally different breed of writer. I like to call myself a puzzler. Yep, you heard me right, a puzzler. I imagine my manuscript as a puzzle and I’m the architect. I can visualize the finished product much like the picture on the box. The thousand pieces inside represent the words and it’s my job to figure out what goes where. I usually start with a chapter outline which reminds me the border end pieces of a puzzle. Wow, this is starting to make sense.

Sometimes I write words, phrases, or sentences in a notebook and try to figure out, line by line, where they fit in my novel. I even keep a pocket sized notebook in my car and jot down sound bites I hear on the radio or catchy mantras splashed across the side of a truck. Just like hunting for where a puzzle pieces belongs, I troll my manuscript to decipher where the words belong. Even though it sounds crazy, it works for me!

It works when the words are flowing which isn’t always the case. Like many, I’m also a seasonal writer. That’s right, seasonal. I drift from hot to cold and don’t have Punxsutawney Phil to warn me when the season will change. So…I write when the writing is good!


5 thoughts on “A Puzzled Writer?

  1. Creating a story from a box of random words? So if the word “love” appears in the box 47 times, once you’ve used your quote, do you have to choose another word? Hmmm. Puzzles get easier toward the end when the number of pieces get low, but this technique must make writing the last chapter a bit of a challenge. But I like it.

  2. Hi Janet,

    I am a writer whose considering Soul Mate Publishing for my debut novel. How happy are you with the publishers and do you have any feedback the would help me decide about moving forward with Soul Mate?

    • Hi Lilas,
      I’m very happy with Soul Mate Publishing overall. They are a small press and relatively new. Breaking into the publishing market is difficult to say the least and after two years of rejections, it was time for me to get my book published. The great news is that Soul Mate is growing and has recently had some great titles. Hope that was helpful and best of luck!
      Janet Nash

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