Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day Three: Puzzling it out with Tara Fox Hall

Remember Wednesday we announce our first winner!!
Please leave those EMAILS with COMMENTS! 

Join me today as we look into each author's contribution to their release of 
Bedtime Shadows

Take it away Tara!

Puzzling It Out

Clive Barker wrote a book called The Great and Secret Show years ago. The theme of the book is that many events that were seemingly unrelated in many times and places were really interrelated in a great show, a battle of evil and light forces secret to most of the bit players. Each time and place with characters were parts of a great whole, a puzzle with a purpose.

I love this theme and how it is related to writing. In a regular puzzle, there are a set number of pieces, and you try to form part of an object with them, to make a larger picture. The easiest way to do so is by grouping the pieces into subsets, and using those sets to form smaller pictures;  first the border, then some of the main characters of the larger picture. As the puzzle forms, you can almost see the bigger picture, and when you finally can, you know how to finish it, as there are a set number of pieces left. Every piece has a place, and unless you’ve done something weird, there are no extra pieces.

In writing, all the elements of puzzle solving are there. The picture is the story, the small subsets are scenes, the actual pieces dialogue, settings and characters. Writers may form their puzzles in different fashions– some forming the border into an outline for their story, then putting the scenes together to make smaller parts, then forming the scenes into bigger subsets, finally linking them all together in a novel. Others form the scenes first, then flesh out characters, adding on until a larger picture begins to unfold.

But in writing, there is one very important difference:  no set number of pieces. An author’s story is done when the writer says it’s done. Need another piece? Fabricate one that fits. Need a larger picture? Expand the border to include more scenes and pieces. 

My advice? If you find a few extraneous pieces, save them. You never know…they might go to a new puzzle you haven’t thought of yet! 

 Some recent book by Tara 

Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, action-adventure, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal action-adventure Lash series and the vampire romantic suspense Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.



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For info on my recently published books Lash and Promise Me, click here: http://www.amazon.com/Lash-ebook/dp/B007UJ6KGC and here http://www.amazon.com/Promise-Me-ebook/dp/B0086G4GDC

For my latest interview, click here:


ManicScribbler said...

Love your view of the novel as a kind of (possibly infinite) organic puzzle, Tara.

It makes novel-writing sound like a much more exciting and manageable process - and it's absolutely true.

Very good post.

Tara Fox Hall said...

Thank you very much, Lyn :) I got the idea while trying to decide which scenes should go into a Lash sequel I was working on. No matter how I tried, the scenes I'd written piecemel over a few months would not fit together. Then it dawned on me that they DIDN'T have to all fit...because I could make up others or not use some of them. Suddenly the possibilities were endless...and I thought, "Hey...this would make a great blog!" :)

Partly Dave said...

A writer is like someone with a deck of cards. We all have ideas and they are often the same ones presented in different configurations. I see this in the stuff I have written. I always keep fragments, ideas, jottings. They come together sometimes in a winning hand. Though the number of cards (ideas) may be finite and even limited at times, the combinations are infinite and endlessly intriguing.

Lisa Markson said...

I cant wait to read stylnunicorn@gmail.com

heather said...

I would love to write stories but I would get so confused and mixed up with my own ideas, lol. This was a great post, Tara. It's amazing how some authors can go so deep and have so many facts, its amazing seeing how it all comes to a close!

hotcha12 said...


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Jenny Twist said...

I love this idea, Tara, although I am so disorganised, I think my writing is more like what happens when you drop all the pieces on the floor!

Mila Ramos said...

Jenny loved your post about being disorganized. I am the exact same way. It is almost like the pieces on the floor will make a pattern and voila, a story emerges.

Tara have you ever come across a puzzle or book that you knew you wanted in a particular way, but that missing piece didn't come to you?? How did you solve it?

Tara Fox Hall said...

A very good comparison, Dave! I feel the same way.
Thank you for the compliment, Heather :)
Good luck in the contests, everyone!
Jenny, you might be disorganized, but your writing is not!
Mila...usually the pieces do not fit perfectly, and I have to lop off bits here and there. As for a missing piece that doesn't form...I usually start reading again from the beginning of what I have so far, so I can see what should come next. By the time I'm up to the blank spot, I have an idea of what I want to do. :)
My question is why do they always need to use house numbers to prove I'm not a robot. Robots likely can read house numbers...

Jessica Sawa said...

And sometimes those pieces of one puzzle intertwines with another puzzles pieces such as lash and Promise me. Danial and Devlin are in both each telling more of their story and characters :) great post Tara!!


Shadow said...

Very interesting. I never thought of them has puzzles, but it does fit. Great way to think of them. :)