Saturday, April 12, 2008

The middle sags

No, I'm not talking about a person's figure although that may be the case (especially as we grow older). No, I'm talking about the middle of a story in a book (really over half the story).

Some people think the hardest part of a story is the middle. Around the halfway mark of your book, you want to be sure that your pacing and story doesn’t slow down, especially in a romantic suspense. There are several ways to prevent that from happening. One, have the story go in a different direction. In Vanished, I have something dramatic happen that turns the story into another direction. Two, resolve one thread of the story but develop another. In Heart of the Amazon Kate finds her brother Zach, but suddenly they have to figure out who tried to kill Zach and later them because they are being hunted. Will they get back to civilization to bring the villain to justice? Third, the action doesn’t stop even through the middle section. Honestly this is the method I prefer in a suspense. I like to keep building on the story, upping the stakes. In Buried Secrets they raced to find a treasure and met danger the whole way.

Which way do you like in a story as a writer or reader?

Margaret Daley


Jessica said...

I like the story twist, when you think things are going one way and then, oops, they change.

PamelaTracy said...

I always know the beginning and the end, and I always have to worry about the middle. I spend so much time worrying and developing it, that when I'm ready to write the end, I'm out of room!! LOL

Margaret Daley said...

Jessica, I like the twist, too.
Pamela, I've definitely been in that spot, too.

Debby Giusti said...

Sorry I'm late reading your post. Ah, middles! I used to hate them. Now I work out the problems in the synopsis. Of course, I usually pull out my hair until I come up with new plot twists. Then when I actually sit down to write the story, I can zip through the middle, knowing exactly where I'm headed.