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The Middle Of The Book Blues

If you've ever finished a manuscript, you know what I'm talking about. Of course, once you are past the middle it's almost smooth sailing. I think beginnings and middles are the hardest parts to write because so much rides upon these scenes. The beginning is what readers/editors see first. It is what grabs their attention. Middles can also make or break your book. Its the part in the story where your hero/heroine must make an important choice or is a turning point for the plot in the novel.

When we get to this point, sometimes the story may sag a bit and we lose focus on where our characters are headed. Don't give up, though. When I get stuck in the dreaded middle, I start working on the structure of my work in progress. If I make the plot go this way, then how will it affect my characters?

I've learned a new technique for making sure the characters' background is revealed during the turning points in the novel.

Karen's Tips:
1. Count the number of pages you have, or "projected" pages you should have if you aren't finished with the book. Remember that certain genres have specific word counts. Let's say Regency Romance has a general word count of 70,000. To find out how many manuscript pages that is divide 70,000 by 250 words per double space page. This is about 280 manuscript pages.

2. Divide the page number by four. (280 divided by four equals 70.)

3. Mark off your pages by that number into three parts. In a 280 page book, mark pages 70, 140, and 210.

4. Within those chapters should be a turning point for one or both of your main characters. They must make a decision, or come to some kind of conclusion. In the rest of the chapter or chapter after that, one or both must then take some action because of that decision or conclusion.

Usually if you are stuck on a certain passage in the work in progress, then it means you either don't know or haven't decided what that crucial decision or conclusion your character has made or will make in that scene.

Ask these questions to learn more:
-Look at the scenes individually: What decision does the hero and/or heroine have to make here?
-How will that decision/conclusion make the hero and/or heroine act?
-How will that action move one or both of them to the next major decision point?
- At the middle of your book: In what way will this decision get them in trouble by the third turning point or "dark moment"?
-Have I included enough background and history to give my reader a good idea why my character (s) have to make their decision?
-Does their thoughts and emotions reflect this decision?

Next time, when you hit the middle of the book blues, you'll be prepared. Thank you so much for reading. Do you have any tips on overcoming writer's block? Please share in a comment below.

Happy writing!
Diva J.

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Deana said...

These are great tips! I bought Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. I'm telling you that book changed my writing life for the better. Especially in the middle:)

Diva J. said...

Deana, thank you for sharing that book and for your comment. I'll definitely check it out!

-Diva J.

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