Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Curing Writer's Block: Unsagging the Middle of the Novel

Have you ever put a book down in the middle and never picked it up again?  Books are often begun with a burst of great enthusiasm, but by the time the middle is reached, the excitement may have worn thin for both writer and reader. 

The middle of the book is the longest section and often the most challenging part of a novel to write.  What was once new and exciting runs the risk of becoming redundant and ho-hum boring.  The writer must think of ways to keep the book entertaining to hold the reader’s interest to the end.
Below are some tips for keeping the middle from sagging. 

 Keep it Exciting by Upping the Ante

The middle is the place to up the ante.  If the protagonist is at risk, make him more so.   If he or she is in danger, make the main character sweat even more.  For example, if your hero is a professional gambler and has risked his own money in the first chapter, in the middle get him into even more hot water by risking money from the boss’s safe or his wife’s private account.  Now, if he loses again, he’s really got a problem. 

Add a Totally New Event

Spice the middle up with an entirely new event.  If you are writing a mystery, add a new murder. If another murder does not fit the storyline, then add a threat or warning.  A sinister phone call, a death note, or the taking of a hostage can heighten the suspense and keep the reader interested.

Add an Unexpected Twist

A twist or surprise in the middle can also be a pleasant diversion.  Perhaps the hero has figured out that the source of all of his problems is the next-door neighbor.  He goes to confront him, only to find the neighbor lying in a pool of blood.  Everything he has thought up to now has been wrong.  The hero must now re-think his angle and start from square one.  (plus, he must also now find out who murdered the neighbor.)    

Further the Subplot

The middle is also the place to develop and deepen the subplot.  Create interest in the romantic subplot by making the hero and heroine temporarily separated for some reason.  Maybe the hero gets into an argument with his girlfriend or has a misunderstanding that is difficult to clear up.  Keeping them estranged for a few chapters can liven up the middle of the book and generate reader interest.

Writing the middle can be a challenge.  But don't give up now! Creating new problems and events for the protagonist to face and overcome can help make the middle as entertaining as the rest of the book.

Quick Tips to Unsag the Middle

*up the ante
*add a totally new event
*add an uexpected twist
*further the subplot

For more writing tips click: 

Check back for more tips on writing the ending!