Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Jigsaw Stories

How do stories come together?

Some writers prefer to work from an outline, others like to free-write in search of a story line.  I liken my style more to a jigsaw puzzle.  Anyone who has ever worked a jigsaw puzzle will tell you that we always begin with the frame. The frame has clear cut edges and often outlines the setting of the picture.  Once the frame is in place we begin looking at the larger images of the picture, seeking out patterns and lines that continue or complete the image. Finally, we fill in the details that add depth and complexity to the picture.  These are often the most difficult pieces to find. They are usually very similar in appearance with only subtle differences in size and shape.  It takes a discerning eye to discriminate and determine where each piece fits to complete the picture. Leave one piece out, no matter how insignificant it may seem to the larger picture and the puzzle is unfinished and disappointing.

In Windborne, the frame of the story is the basis of the setting in the rolling Kansas Flint Hills.  The setting is a constant throughout the story as each generation interacts with it based on the culture of the times. The larger images are the characters that move the story forward through their actions. The details are the nuances that form the theme and central ideas in the story.  This is where the writer employs literary devises such as symbolism, imagery and irony to add depth and complexity to the story.

In The Stone House Legacy, the frame is the story of the past. Since the frame in this story is used to hold together the picture of the present that is the heart of the novel, I have employed the use of a Prologue and Epilogue to define it. This time, the plot takes center stage as the characters struggle to overcome the major conflict in the story. Since this is the most important element in the puzzle, it is critical that the action of the plot builds so that each minor conflict leads to the major crisis. The reader must be brought along with the rising action. Once I have satisfactorily built the plot, I can go back and supply the details that give the story its dimension.

 I have a lot of work to do!  Stay tuned to follow my progress!

No comments:

Post a Comment