Jigsaw Puzzles as Writing Strategies

Pearl S. Buck Writing Center

By Anne K. Kaler

How can a jigsaw puzzle help you with your writing?

Let’s start with the metaphor of your writing as a boxed jigsaw puzzle.Anne Kaler Head Shot

You already have everything you need to complete the puzzle picture on the box because no puzzle maker would stay in business long if he left out some pieces. Those writing pieces are lodged securely in the storehouse of your brain, just waiting for your agile mind to activate them. So you already have all the pieces within your life experiences.

Just like the jigsaw puzzle box your mind contains all the “pieces” necessary to re-create “the picture on the box.”

But there’s the problem, isn’t it. After you open the box, spill the pieces out on the table, shuffle through them, just where do you start the re-creation process?

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Eight things booksellers would like self-published authors to know

Adidas Wilson

Self-published authors are sometimes ill-prepared or don’t know what to expect when they approach booksellers about selling their titles, signing events, policy, etc. To be successful in pitching their books to booksellers, self-published authors should have a sense of the resources available to booksellers, what is appealing to them, and how to approach them. Here are eight things booksellers would like self-published authors to know.

Making sure your title is available for bookstores to order is an important first step

Bookstores don’t have access to all titles, and corporate stores like Barnes and Noble can’t sell your title unless it’s in its system and available from one of its distributors. Independent bookstores are much more likely to accept copies you bring from home, but each one is different, so it’s important to do some preliminary research. The more available your book is, the easier it will be to make sales.

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What Watching This Year’s Best Picture Nominees Has Taught Me About Storytelling

Novelty Revisions

I’m not the best movie watcher. On average, I probably watch about five movies every year, two or three in theaters at the most. I tend to stick to movies with hype, movies adapted from books I’ve read. I stay in a film-viewing comfort zone. At least I always have, until this year.

As I’m writing this, I have seen all but three of the movies nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. That means I’ve seen more movies already in 2017 than I usually watch in a year – and that’s not counting movies I’ve seen that are up for other awards.

Why have I suddenly set out on this journey to show up to the Oscars more prepared than usual? I like award shows, for one thing, and I like being able to cast my own vote, so to speak. If something wins an award, I want…

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​Shadows on the Wall: Binge Eating Disorder & Early Childhood Trauma

Readers Handbook

I gripped the neck of the green Coca-Cola bottle hidden beneath the folds of my ragged skirt. Not much protection, but all I had. The five of us Dulin Kids sat like statues on the worn brown sofa and stared at the butcher knife Dad held at Mom’s throat…

Emotional and physical trauma, such as depicted in the above scene from my childhood, is one of many factors that can contribute to the development of binge eating disorder (BED). Childhood trauma, especially when it occurs before the age of nine or ten, is an especially strong force that often drives us toward binge eating. How this plays out is fascinating.

Learning to Self-soothe in a Safe Home

Self-soothing is one of the earliest and most important coping skills we learn as children.
In a safe home, young children learn to soothe themselves by being comforted and soothed by their parents…

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Getting in the Money Mindset: A Basic Financial Plan for New Authors

Kate M. Colby

Getting in the Money Mindset

Back when I first discussed my goal of full-time authorship (and again when I reflected on my first full year as a published author), a few readers expressed interest in learning more about my plan to become a full-time author. In short, I’ve had to realize that, if I want writing to be my job, I have to think of it like a business. This mindset shift marked a huge evolution in my writing life, and I’ve done my best to outline my thinking process in the article that follows.

First, I want to make a few disclaimers:

1. I am not an accountant or financial adviser. All advice given should be taken (preferably to a professional) with a grain of salt.

2. This post is meant for authors who want to make a full-time career in independent publishing.

3. This post is written in first-person, because it is…

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What I’m Reading for Black History Month

chronic bibliophilia

It’s here again, that somber, dark, short month where the world outside is dismal. As usual, I plan to use this month’s reading to keep the fires burning in my mind and heart by focusing exclusively on works by black Americans.  Here is what is on the queue for this month’s reads and reviews. What are you reading?

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The Book Shelf is Missing Your Book!

Two Drops of Ink: A Literary Blog

By: Marilyn L. Davis

We want to promote your book and we don’t expect you to pay us. How’s that for straightforward information?

We know what it’s like to sit and write and wonder if anyone will read our creative efforts. We know what it’s like to be a fern at the bottom of the redwood forest. But through hard work, good writing, and social media shares, we attracted readers, followers, and the attention of other sites. In fact, we made The Write Life’s list of top 100 writing sites in 2016,  and we’re one of their eleven sited writing communities for 2017.  We also made Positive Writer’s  top 50 in 2017.

Those awards certainly mean something to us and about us. But just as importantly, they mean that we have credibility in the writing world, which can translate to exposure for you. 

Because we wanted to…

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