The Middle Matters

writing middle

When you first start writing a story, either fiction or non, you’re excited about it. You’ve got all these thoughts and are ready to get it on paper. You’ve got a great idea of where you’re going to end up. But then something happens. You get to the middle of the story and have no idea where to go.

You might have lost the drive to complete the story. You might realize you need more information or need to beef up your storyline or characters. You might have too much information and need to trim it up. Maybe you’ve just lost the reason the story excited you enough to write it initially. Whatever the reason, you’ve got to come up with a way to overcome that hurdle.

The beginning of your story is where everyone meets your characters and gets an idea of where the journey is going to take them. But the middle becomes just a series of events if you aren’t careful. However, it’s really where readers develop the connection to your characters and build that desire to see how the story ends.

So how do you keep pressing forward? Some people go back and rewrite the beginning because they can’t seem to move forward. I think that’s the wrong approach. Instead, look back over your notes. Try and remember what it was that captured your attention and motivated you to write the story in the first place. Think about where it ends up. Sometimes it helps to write the end first. Then you can fill in with all the missing pieces. You know how it started. You know how it ends. It shouldn’t be hard to figure out how they got there.

You can focus on the characters. What made them appealing? What did they look like? What’s their background? What’s their dream? How can you translate all those things into your story to engage your reader and draw them in?

The middle is a great place for a plot twist. Did something go wrong along the way? If the characters had made different choices, would the result still be the same? Were there obstacles they had to overcome? What challenges did they face along the way? Was time working against them? The middle is where the conflict should occur.

If none of that works, shut down the computer and walk away. Put on your headphones. Listen to music. Go for a walk. Listen to your favorite podcast. Sleep on it. Then pull it up tomorrow and look at it with a fresh set of eyes and a rested mind.

 

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