Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Stuck in the Middle With You

So this week we're moving down the menu to discuss middles--story middles, that is. Arguably not an author's favorite phase of writing. In RWA, they devote whole workshops to the sagging middle. Friends grouse about plodding through the middle like it's a pitstop on the way to the end and honestly, I don't understand it. Mind you, I am a plotter not a panster and that means by definition I know where I'm going with a story (at least I think I do) and I have a synopsis before I start writing in ernest.

Paint me crazy but middles don't freak me out.

I think that's because middles mean I can trot out my minor characters and let them shine. As a backstory slut and an avid minor character supporter, it's the perfect place to do it. Your hero and heroine have been shouldering the burden of the story but in the middle, those quirky side guys and gals get their chance. And here is where you can sew the seeds for future novels. Think: trilogy.

So like the beloved cookie pictured above, I am hear to tell you that the middle should be your favorite part of the story.

If the beginning sets the stage and the end wraps up the loose ends and gives closure, then the middle...ah, the poor misunderstood middle is your story! It's the journey, the arc, the meat (in dinerspeak) of your creative effort. Why the long faces? And who gave the middle this rotten PR?

Think about this, you may be able to recognize some of the following novels, but would you read them with the middle missing?

The second daughter of a country gentleman meets a rich but snobby gentleman from the city---> They marry.

Humble halfling inherits a magical ring from his uncle--->He destroys the ring.

Kids from opposing families fall in love--->They die.

Not much of a story after all, is it?

Viva the middle!!



  1. Dang, you almost made me want to go write my middle. Almost. LOL

  2. LOL! Cheryel! Hey, I tried.



  3. I'm past the middle, and just like many food products, it was pretty tasty! Now if only I could get 2 hands free to write the finish..


  4. Great points! It really is all about the middle, isn't it? LOL