I’m hitting that point in the middle of my writing where I usually get bored and pitter off. You know, that almost halfway chapter of Rose where I realized that there wasn’t enough to the story and so many things needed to change before I could finish, so I stopped and moved on to the next thing?
Except I’m not getting bored. I’m getting more and more excited to write. So much is happening and I cannot wait to put everything into words. Usually I only get dragged into this kind of suspense when I’m reading, but the fact that my own writing is pulling me in proves to me that not only is this story is worth telling, but it’s also ready to be told.
When I started writing Rose, the story was not ready to be told. It was a half baked idea that I got way overexcited about writing. I jumped in too soon and it didn’t have the guts to make it to the end. I got caught in the middle.
And when I got caught in the middle, I moved on to another idea. Sometimes you’re not ready to write that story. Sometimes the story isn’t ready for you. But sometimes you just need to push through. Here are a few different things to try to get through the middle of your novel-
- Get lost. The middle of the novel is usually where the protagonist doesn’t know how to win. Really work that into your novel so the reader is clinging to the unknown too. This can also mean that if you don’t know what’s happening next, enjoy the process of working your way out. Take this time to plot a little. Examine all the possibilities for your characters and see what works. You may end up liking something you hadn’t considered yet and the story may change. (I’m currently debating on whether a certain character is really evil or not.)
- Go back to the starting line (I give this advice cautiously). Sometimes this can work really well in your favor. Sometimes you can find some ideas you hinted at in the beginning that got lost along the way. Those ideas can resurface in the middle and help pick up the pace. Sometimes, though, this can hurt you. If you get too hung up on what’s wrong with the beginning, you get caught up in the endless cycle of editing and changing before you figure out where the story ends. That’s what happened with Rose for a while. When that happened, I had to take time away because I had too many thoughts to sort through and I lost sight of what was important-getting to the end.
- Go to the finish line (I also give this advice cautiously). Skipping ahead to the climax can remind you why you’re writing the story and give you a better look at the direction you’re heading. Knowing where you’re going will help you get there. But it could hurt you because that anticipation of making it to the finish line what keeps some of us going. Also, skipping to the end could mean you skip over some important details and they are left out of the climax. But I guess that’s why we edit.
- Simplify. Sometimes all you need to get to the end is to cut out the excess and unnecessary plot/characters/POV/etc. that is preventing you from getting to the end. Emphasis on unnecessary, though. Don’t remove anything important. That’s why when I was plotting Powerful I went through each character and made sure they had a distinct purpose and helped the character in some way make it to the end.
- Expand. In the case of Rose, I only had one plot that was dragging it’s way through to the end. There wasn’t enough to fill that gap between the beginning and the end. If that’s your problem, then your plot needs more. This goes back to the first point about getting lost. See what else could happen and how it could affect your characters. Make sure there’s actually something happening in the middle that expands your characters and their journey.
- Move on. Sometimes the only thing you can do is take a break and work on something else. With Rose, honestly the best thing I could do was put it aside and work on Powerful. Sometimes you have to give up an idea completely and start something new. Sometimes you only need a temporary break. For Rose, I’m totally starting it over. So many things have to change. It will not be the same story at all. But because I was willing to put it aside for the time being, it will be better than before.
Every story and every writer is different. There is no one way to do anything. If you have an experience or advice that I didn’t include, please share in the comments!
1 thought on “The Middle”
I'm currently in that "holy cow I'm excited to write my own novel" stage. It's fantastic!
When I'm stuck, I'll often resort to coin-flipping 😉 I think, "Alright, my MC can either do this or that. Let's see which path he takes." Then start pantsing until I get enthusiastic.