Thursday, July 14, 2016

Love and Puzzles and Triangles

Describing two people in love as "puzzle pieces that fit" is pretty common. I find it a very apt image, and I'm going to go into way to much detail to show you why. ;-)
image by Horia Varlon via Flickr
First, I like the thought of the jigsaw pieces coming together to make something bigger and clearer than they were alone. Since I've never believed in the idea of "one true love," I also like that each piece has at least two to four others that would connect properly. Each individual piece is still the same, but then, the "big picture"—the couple's dynamic—would be a slightly different one.

Taking this one step further...I know a lot of people don't enjoy love triangles in books (but if you do and you haven't read The Grisha Trilogy beginning with Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, you should, because love square!). A good love triangle just means there are two different puzzle pieces that fit, maybe on opposite sides. Each piece gives the main character something important, completes them in a different way. Each side offers an aspect the other side of the triangle is incapable of.

So how do you explain those amazingly unlikely couples that somehow work? Well, this morning in the shower (best thinking place, right?), I realized puzzle companies probably print their images on cardboard stock, then run a standard cutting die over them. Meaning many different puzzles most likely share the exact same cut lines.

So you could have a King Tut burial mask puzzle with the same jigsaw shapes as a jelly bean mixture puzzle. King Tut's lower lip and the blueberry jelly bean might physically be a perfect match. Maybe the pictures don't make sense to everyone around them, but that doesn't mean they don't feel perfectly right together.

The final thing I think makes the puzzle a perfect analogy? Unless you're a puzzle mastermind, it takes time to find the pieces that fit together. Especially when life offers you a 15,000 piece box.

Whether you're writing a story with romantic elements or looking for a special someone, I wish you the best of luck in finding a piece that matches.

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