Monday 21 September 2015

Getting through the middle of your story #ChaBooChaLite

By now, you might be reaching the middle of your book. This is where, if you let it, your story might begin to sag. But there are ways to avoid writing a saggy middle to your story.

1. Use your outline. Not knowing how to get from the beginning of your story to the end can cause many authors to flounder in the middle, but that is why you are supposed to have written an outline, with a synopsis for each chapter. The outline should tell you what you need to achieve in these middle chapters and give you direction.

2. View each chapter as a scene. If this scene were a short story, how would it begin and how would it end? What can you do to keep your readers interest all the way through? Giving your story the same focus on each chapter as you would for a new scene or a short story will help you keep it interesting for your readers.

3. Increase the stakes. If the stakes go up in the middle of the story, your readers interest will remain hooked. Maybe your protagonist now has even more to lose if she doesn't overcome her problem, or something happens to make overcoming the problem less likely.

4. Introduce a new character. This won't work for every storyline, but if the character can fit in within the context of the plot, sometimes this can cause renewed interest by readers, especially if this new person is a mystery, causes a new conflict, increases the conflict in some way or provides some much needed advice for the protagonist. Don't just throw any new character into the story. He has to be integral to the plot and cause a change in some way.
5. Work on your subplot and use it to increase the tension in the main plot. Tie the subplot into the main plot. Spend some time developing it, while subtly increasing the tension of the main plot.

6. Create a setback. Maybe your character has almost overcome the obstacles by now, but you are only half-way through the book. You will need a setback to keep form ending your story early and so that the story can start moving forward again.

7. Use your characters' interactions with each other to move the story forward.Dialogue between characters, even the unspoken body language between them, can create tension and pull the reader in closer.

8. Ask a question. If your story gets to the middle and, instead of answers, your protagonist now has even more questions, readers will continue to read because they want to find out what the answers to those questions are. This also increases the tension in the story.

9. Reveal a secret. Is there something about your protagonist or antagonist that your readers don't know yet? Use the middle of the story to reveal it.

10. Create a twist. Has your story been leading your readers to a false conclusion? Perhaps the middle of the story is a good time to reveal that. As long as it isn't giving away the end of your story, creating a twist can be a good way to keep your story's middle strong.
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  1. Some excellent advice here, I am tracking pretty well with my editing at the moment but it is very easy to let it all slide.

  2. Great article, Becky! After getting my 12 x 12 picture books (I wrote 3 and revised 2) out of the way with, I started the revisions for Anya, my chapter book yesterday. Thank you for all the great tips.

  3. Great article and wonderful advice Becky! The middle has always been a tough part for me. We spend so much thinking time on beginning and ending, we tend to forget the middle until we are there! Thanks for the great post!

  4. Great advice! The 'secret' device is very helpful. Since I am writing Biblical fiction, the storyline is set, but I can always add details that are plausible. Thanks!

  5. Fantastic advice. The middle can sometimes be a challenge. Love the idea of revealing a secret.

  6. Fantastic advice. The middle can sometimes be a challenge. Love the idea of revealing a secret.