Monday, March 10, 2008

Stuck In The Middle

Last week we had posts regarding the beginning and endings. What about the middle?
Ah, the middle of the book. The "fun" part to write.
There is this commercial for racing and it talks about how you don't watch just the begining and endings of movies, you don't read just the beginnings and ending of books. (The commercial is trying to convince us to watch the race all the way through.)
But back to books. The beginning hooks you into the book. The ending pulls it all together. The middle gets you from that hook to the pulling it all together part.
Sounds simple, huh?
But it's not. Sustaining it all through pages and pages called the middle isn't as simple as it seems. You have to keep up the pace, yet not go too fast. You have to keep revealing things, but save the best for last. Basically you have to keep the reader interested enough to get to the end.
How do you plan the middle of the book? Or do you plan? Some people (like me) just plough through seeing what happens as it unfolds.
What are your thoughts on writing the middle of the book?


  1. I'm like you, Lindi, a true pantser. I just try to make sure each chapter ends with a hook that makes 'em want to keep going. Yet I never really know what it's going to be until I get there :-)

  2. LOL, Mindy. I called Lindi the other day just to ask which chapter hook she thought I should use--the end of scene where things just turned out badly hook or the one after the next scene where the heroine has just schemed up what she's going to do about the disaster(and hopefully reader would look forward to seeing that be played out).

    (Lindi voted for the disater hook, by the way.)

    I do like to have two or three turning points planned during the middle part that lead toward the Big Black Moment. Things that up the stakes. But that's not always easy! It's a really hard part of the book for me.


  3. I used to be a panster, but more often I'm now a plotter. It's just a little easier to plan the main plots and leave a little creative room for the rest. I think it helps with those sagging middles. You can look at the story structure where you need to build more or throw in a twist to spice it up better.

  4. Great comments, ladies. I just read a secular historical romance by Jacquie D'Alessandro and she did a great job with the middle of the book. I think it's the hardest part of the book to write.

    We just have to keep typing through so we aren't stuck in the middle!

  5. I read her first book a few years ago. It was great. I haven't read many secular books since I started writing Christian fiction. There are some techniques we can learn from the secular market and use in CBA. I've been breaking down several novels over the last few months and studying them. I might do the same with a few secular books.