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April 13, 2012 / Chersti Nieveen

Lateral Thinking Puzzles

Okay, so this book that I’ve drafted has challenges in it.

That’s good, right? A plot needs conflict.

Yeah, well the challenges for my two main characters are more complicated than that. Every year, the two have to pass a test. Sometime the test is easy. Sometimes the test is fun. But sometimes, the test is a nightmare. Being buried alive. Walking through fire. Doing the impossible.

And if they don’t pass, then someone dies.

The hardest part is that each situation had to push the characters to the max–make them think outside the box. So where did I come up with these challenges? Honestly, I started looking at Lateral Thinking Problems (you know the type: one person lies the other tells the truth, how do you know which tells the truth). I had a book (LOVED these as a teenager), but of course I couldn’t find it when I needed it. So I did a google, and found tons of great problems. After warping them entirely to fit the situations, I had the scenarios I needed!

But here’s the thing: I might need a few more AND I AM OUT OF IDEAS! So what is your favorite Lateral Thinking Puzzle? Or what real-life challenges have you faced that you thought would be impossible?



  1. tiffany / Apr 13 2012 9:15 am

    I have no lateral thinking puzzles for you, but loved this line: “And if they don’t pass, then someone dies.” Sounds like finals week. 😀

    • Chersti Nieveen / Apr 13 2012 1:23 pm

      As I recal, finals week always had ice cream 🙂 Maybe I should add that to this story, too.

  2. rowe wilson / Apr 13 2012 10:27 am

    I don’t have any puzzles, either. But the story sounds like a good read! Hope you can find more puzzles and finish it soon…

    • Chersti Nieveen / Apr 13 2012 1:25 pm

      Thank you so much! I’m excited about it.

  3. Britney Stapley / Apr 13 2012 1:27 pm

    What comes to mind is the episode of Sabrina when she kisses Harvey and he turns into a frog. Then she has to go through all of those trials to get him back.

  4. Joel Smith / Apr 14 2012 10:13 pm

    I like the puzzles where you have to figure out clues that relate to the seasons, or elements. For example think of the 5th element where they had to activate the different stations with the element they represented. You can get tricky by making it hard to find the right element (hard to find anything to strike a fire, lots of sand but no rocks, etc). Anyway, hope that helps!

  5. leishamaw / Apr 16 2012 5:31 pm

    That sounds awesome! But sadly I don’t have any puzzles other than the what’s for dinner kind. 🙂

  6. Shallee McArthur / Apr 17 2012 10:01 am

    Um…I’m zero help on this one. But you know I love your idea, and can’t wait to see what other puzzles you’ve pulled out!

  7. Chersti Nieveen / Apr 19 2012 3:13 pm

    Joel: Wow, that’s such great feedback. I watched The 5th Element ages ago, and I honestly can’t remember it. Maybe I’ll have to check it out again and see what they do. Because this sounds awesome.

    Leisha: Lol! I hope you figured out what was for dinner! Seriously, that seems to be the constant puzzle at my house, as well.

    Shallee: Oh thank you!!

  8. amyhackworth / Apr 21 2012 10:57 am

    Wow, great idea, Chersti! I’m impressed with how you solved YOUR problem of needing to come up with more solutions. I’ll be thinking about these ideas all day!

  9. Chersti Nieveen / Apr 21 2012 11:07 am

    Lol – I went to Markus Zusak’s signing ages ago, and he said something along the lines of ‘every solution I come up with often creates a dozen more problems.” And that’s how I feel with this book. But it’s just so fun to solve the problems! And eventually I’ll figure out solutions for everything, right?? 🙂

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