Assembly Required

Library of Congress Photos women assembly line workers 8b02906r
Library of Congress Photos 8b02906r

Wouldn’t it be nice if your first thought was a brilliant opening? And every thought thereafter arrived in the most logical order until your book was complete?

Then again, unless you love taking dictation, the more usual creative process is more fun.

Feel free to unravel your tangled skein of ideas in whatever order you pull them out of your hat; arrange later.

Some people work from outlines to begin with, and others try to get every idea onto paper before stepping back to see what appears. Naming the chapters can be like finding the edge pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. When you match colors, you wonder whether they belong in the same patch. Or are they are spread throughout the work for balance?

Of course the pieces aren’t pre-cut, they don’t fit perfectly, and there are probably millions of ways to choose, shape, and arrange them. Maybe yours is puzzle plus collage plus painting plus intricate needlework.

Somehow, you will translate your brilliant four-dimensional concepts into the linear form of one word after another, and we will get it! Once the pieces all fit together, your work will sound as natural as if you took dictation.

So just start. Pick a piece out of the box and don’t worry about where it belongs. When it’s time to assemble, you will know.

If you’ve already completed a book, we’d love to hear about your assembly process.


Text © Gwyn Nichols 2010


  1. I haven’t finished my book–I’m halfway now–but I find introducing what I call “open metaphors” or “budding metaphors” that can take a whole number of shapes often provide me with some really interesting directions and force my characters to develop in very interesting ways. Maybe that doesn’t make much sense, but that’s how I do it 🙂


Join the conversation?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.