First, a bit of housekeeping. I have the feeling I’ve not got a lot more working writer tips in me. At least, not for the time being. I admit I’m amazed how many tips I remember when I sit down and try to think what has helped me over the years. Still…. not so many have popped into my mind lately so, if I’m not nearing the end, I am at least slowing down a bit. With that in mind, I have decided to drop back to posting twice a month. On or about the beginning and the middle of each month.
But for now there’s a lot to be said for middles. You know, that part of every story that writers hate because middles often end up boring readers. Great beginnings and wonderful endings. Middles, not so glorious.
I must admit that I skip a lot when I read. The boring stuff. Description. Telling not showing. And middles if they are boring and don’t seem to add to the story. Which often, they don’t.
There’s a way to deal with those boring, saggy middles that I kind of figured out for myself. It happened during a ‘eureka’ moment after I read a definition of a story. Now, there are lots of definitions but, for the purpose of interesting middles, this is the one that led to that eureka moment and remains the one I prefer: A story follows a group of characters through a situation to a conclusion and, during the trip, at least one character changes.
It’s the part about one or more character changing that has to do with middles because that change takes place during the middle of the story. So the key to middles that are not boring and can be riveting is to show the change. You, the writer, are in charge of whatever it is that changes your characters and it’s that change that makes the middle worth reading.
This isn’t a writing technique in the sense that it tells you how to fiddle with words. Instead it’s a head thing, a way of thinking that you mentally assume whenever you sit down and begin writing. As you write, keep in mind what change must happen to each character before the end of the story. And think about how that change can best be wrought. Because if you are thinking about that change, then it will show up in each and every scene. And that will make your middles interesting and your stories page-turners.