By Peter Turchi

With his attribute expertise for locating connections among writing and the stuff of our lives, Peter Turchi ventures into new or even extra mind-blowing territory. In A Muse and a Maze, Turchi attracts out the similarities among writing and puzzle-making and its flip-side, puzzle-solving. As he teases out how secret lies on the middle of all storytelling, he uncovers the magic—the construction of credible illusion—that writers percentage with the likes of Houdini and grasp magicians. In Turchi’s associative narrative, we find out about the heritage of puzzles, their obsessive caliber, and that Benjamin Franklin used to be a devotee of an historic precursor of sudoku referred to as Magic Squares. utilizing this wealthy backdrop to the necessities of writing, Turchi finds as a lot in regards to the human psyche as he does concerning the literary mind's eye and the artistic process.

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Extra info for A Muse and a Maze: Writing as Puzzle, Mystery, and Magic

Sample text

But writing this book—like writing any book—has been a long process, one requiring obsessive attention as well as the extended pursuit—and, sometimes, abandonment—of many hunches. Those hours of pursuing solutions, of refusing to settle for nearly finishing a puzzle, is an exercise in persistence that pays benefits when applied to significant challenges. Four writers, close friends, have each completed their first books and are invited to meet a famous and influential editor. She’s read all their work and was surprised to find that she admires it all equally.

A short story or novel is a different kind of puzzle; and it is more than a puzzle. The composition of a story is a puzzle for the writer, whose job is to decide what to include, what to exclude, and how to organize the parts. The problem is compounded by the fact that, as fiction writers, we begin to write without knowing precisely what we’re trying to create. The work continually changes form, and emphasis, and purpose. Characters disappear, new characters are added; some scenes grow longer, others are reduced to summary.

The first and little fingers now grip the card. The two middle fingers are next bent and brought down under the card and round to the front of same, thereby causing the card to revolve between the first and fourth fingers, as though on an axis, and assume the position on the back of the hand clipped between the first and second and third and fourth fingers (shown left). After considerable practice it will be found that all the movements I have just described will become practically one, and the card will apparently vanish from the hand.

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