It's no secret that my least favorite part of writing happens during the middle of the book. They don't call it the sagging middle for nothing, folks. If you're not really careful, that baby will sag so low you'll be tempted Select All and Delete. Or at the very least, whine to your critique partner that you're in the middle of your worst story ever and your career is over. (Sound familiar Colleen?)
The easy cure for the sagging middle is The Domino Effect. It's just as it sounds. Create conflict that pushes the next domino down. If the conflict isn't strong enough to push the next one down, make it stronger or change it altogether. Don't just string together a series of events. Don't just write the next scene that comes to mind. Think How is this scene going to effect my protagonist? What reaction is this going to cause?
If the reaction is daydreaming while sipping Earl Grey tea, it's not the right scene.
Make something happen. Something bad. Your protagonist's worst fear. At the worst time possible. Be mean. It's fiction, you're allowed. Your character will grow, your reader will experience the vicarious thrill of victory, and you won't have a middle that sags to the floor.
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Labels: barefoot summer, Denise Hunter, writing