Here is Graham’s latest craft post, “How to Piece Together a Book,” which is now featured on his website:
The essay features the Fuddles, people in one of the Oz books, who like to scatter themselves into pieces so they can then be put back together like jigsaw puzzles.
They can serve as a lesson of what to look for as we construct our books.
“We add our books together piece by scattered piece. We trust that they are secretly connected, that somehow they will eventually join the narrative’s arc together. Intuition is largely our guide here, as well as a certain dogged persistence. And then comes the time when a critical mass of addition is achieved (a point that is always different for every book), and, as in the Land of the Fuddles, a “mouth” is found: an insight that speaks with an echoing authority, which helps the writer better understand what they have been attempting.
This is the moment that a writer searches for, often unconsciously: a “mouth” of insight that will speak for more than itself. This is the point when a book switches from hopeful guesswork to far more intentional construction. Mysteries may certainly still abound, but a point of no return has been reached, and the writer increasingly believes that their book will eventually be born, its last piece finally fit into the waiting pattern.”