Knitting Together the Perfect Mystery: How Writing a Novel is Like a Ball of Yarn

After all of the marketing I've been doing lately, it's tough to just back into the flow of writing and it got me thinking about my process. If you are a knitter, or in my case grew up with a knitter (my Mama) you may have noticed colorful balls of yarn around the house, or most likely you've seen a yarn skein. 

You may have even attempted knitting or just played with the string a time or two as a kid–only to realize that while sometimes the string unwinds smoothly—at times it can really catch. 
As writers, the same thing can happen, metaphorically speaking, with our stories. In my case I see all of my stories when I first begin as a giant ball of yarn. Sometimes I can sit down and go for chapters and chapters with no snags, unwinding the story like a perfectly formed ball of yarn.

Then I catch a snag. One of my scenes is caught up with another.  Maybe the piece of yarn I'm currently pulling is overlapping another piece or maybe it's a huge tangled mess buried at the heart of the story.

What do you do? 

Do you keep pulling and risk tangling further? Sure. Sometimes that can work, but more recently while working on the Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire I learned to go into the centre of the skein to search for the root of the tangle. There I can pull on the surrounding threads until the one I'm caught up on, shakes loose. 

While this process can be tedious, for me it’s necessary, to make sure my story unfolds in a smooth and timely fashion. And it's better than the alternative—which as every knitter knows—is to cut.

How do you see your writing process?

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