Monday, January 7, 2013
The Saggy Draggy Middle
It's not that the story has gotten less exciting, in fact it's more exciting than the start. So what is the problem?
The middle of the story is where "stuff" starts to happen. You've already introduced the main players and you know their problems but now you have to make it happen. The trouble is, the middle is the important part, maybe the most important part because it's where the story arc takes that upward turn towards the climax. Emotions, tensions, and problems all should be building in the middle until things finally explode. If you don't get it right, the story starts to bloat and retain water. Then you are stuck with saving a sinking ship.
Which is exactly how I feel right now, like I'm riding a sinking ship into the swirly abyss of the toilet bowl. Not that my draft is bad, and not that I can't fix it later, but I want to make sure I lay a good foundation for the manuscript. Otherwise I'm sucked in the proverbial plot corner with no way out!
So how do you move past the feelings and keep going? You grab your flotation device (aka your outline) and you grab your bucket (aka your brain) and you bail out the ship (aka your manuscript). You keep going and you don't stop, because if you do, you will sink. And if you're really crafty you have your handy dandy paddle, aka your critique partner who is shoving you along by asking for more pages, which is by far the best motivation ever. If you keep paddling, eventually you will pull out of the tumultuous waters and see that beautiful sunset. The light is there, you just have to find it.
Somewhere in your subconscious is the rest of the draft and it's just waiting to come out. The middle is where you find out who your characters really are and what they are made of. It's where you discover your true message and it's where you often learn something about yourself. So take a deep breath, plant your butt in the chair, and let the words flow through your fingertips. You never know where the journey will take you. Before you know it, you'll see the light at the end of the tunnel. It looks a lot like THE END.
Does anyone else struggle with writing the middle? If so, how do you power on?