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April 3, 2014 / Angela Sylvia

Writing Problems: Middles

Often I go into stories knowing how my characters start out, and how they end up. Even if the beginning and end eventually change, through drafts that tends to be the more solid part of the story. It’s the middle that remains wobbly, unfocused, languishing.

In a story I hoped to be done with for now (but deep down I knew I really wasn’t) I’d had some problems in the middle, with what the characters were up to, how quickly things happened, how dramatic I made the story. I thought I’d fixed that. Then I got some helpful comments back on it that pointed out my big problems, which took place…yup…in the middle.

I’ve been working on it, and I think it’s improving. I’m trimming some fat, replacing some parts (hopefully not mixing metaphors like that). I’m going to send it out to friends, and hopefully, after their comments, I’ll craft a middle that comes out less like Jell-O and more like semi-dry cement. And then off it goes again.

 

What part of the story gives you issues?

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3 Comments

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  1. Juurian Chi (@JuurianChi) / Apr 3 2014 10:20 am

    Beginnings of stories always cause me the most strain, because personally I don’t want to waste valuable time introducing characters when the reader is going to see them grow anyway. One way I compensate for this is fleshing out the character and them simplifying them down to their core features. And then I tweak the story to only give the reader enough information to be able to follow the character into the start of their adventure.

    • Angela Sylvia / Apr 3 2014 10:27 am

      That can be a problem. I’ve had beginnings that was just pages of introducing the characters that eventually got cut out; I just needed to write that in order to get to know them myself. It sounds like you’ve got a good method.

  2. Lysa Taylor / Apr 5 2014 2:11 pm

    I feel the same way. The middle of a story always gives me a problem and it’s usually the portion of the story I work on the longest.

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