Today I have the pleasure of Leigh K Hunt guest posting. She comes with a wand of magic dust that she is going to use to blow magic back into your manuscript.
We all have those times in a manuscript when we hit a crossroads. We may have been excited by the beginning and can’t wait to write the climax but then there is that pesky middle that we have to get through. We know we have to get through it, there is no other way to the climax. We may read over what we have written and just think it is rubbish because it is not moving fast enough.
Slowly a whirlpool starts pooling at out fingertips and we feel ourselves sucked into a vortex that threatens to overwhelm us. Leigh calls this the Middle Book Blues. Our fight or flight response kicks in. Do we give up or do we forge ahead, sword waving. So if you are at this point, Leigh is going to tell you how to fight back and refuse to give in or give up. She is going to give you some tips, from her own experience, on how to blow magic back into your manuscript.
Blowing a little MAGIC back into your Manuscript
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago – if I hit the middle of the book with nowhere to go, I would stop writing, shove that blasted manuscript in my drawer, and walk away from it forever. I would give up on it… Somehow, I could always justify it to myself. “It’s just wasn’t worth the angst,” I would say. Then I would start on the next book that I had been dreaming up.
It wasn’t until I had done this to three or four different novels that I realised something incredibly significant to me. It wasn’t writer’s block that I was suffering from. It was the Middle Book Blues.
You see… Writing the middle of the book wasn’t like writing the rest of it. It wasn’t all shiny and new like the start. I was no longer developing and getting to know my characters. I wasn’t setting the scene and spending loads of time really discovering what was going on. I wasn’t setting out on a new journey. There was no longer any of that excitement.
It’s not the end of the novel either, where you are tying up all the loose ends, everything is exciting, and you feel as though you are on a rollercoaster ride of writing adrenaline.
Nope. The middle of the book just wasn’t exciting. I felt starved of action. And in feeling starved, I lost all motivation to bother finishing it. There was just something that stopping me connecting with the book, the characters, or the storyline.
I figured it out.
My characters were too happy! Yes, they were just living their lives… happily! That is boring. There are no happy middles in good books. Happy characters and happy scenes make for some pretty boring writing and reading. And the only way I discovered that, was by actually being there. Then I would throw my manuscripts into my dusty literary drawer.
So, how do you get yourself out of the Middle Book Blues? Well. It’s simple.
Create mass destruction of your character’s lives. I am not kidding.
There is nothing quite like throwing horrific events at your character and watching them work their way out of it. When this happens, there is a huge emotional pay off for your book, your characters, the situation – but most of all – for you as the writer.
In the planning stages of the book, or at least when you get to know your character a little.
Write down five things that would be devastate your character, and make them happen.
It doesn’t have to be horrific. Not all of us write like that. An example would be if your character is a materialistic millionaire, then taking all of their money way would force some sort of drama, action, and change to that character.
Suddenly, the middle of the book becomes exciting again, and more importantly – it’s exciting to write. You learn more and more about the boundaries of your character, and your readers become more emotionally invested in your character’s plight. This in turn creates action, reaction, and commitment.
Writing your way out of the Middle Book Blues with action will turn your novel into a well-paced and riveting read. Before you know it, you’re wrapping it up, and ending it.
Remember this: There is no happiness in the middle. The only way out of the Middle Book Blues, is to write your way out. If you find yourself floundering… ask yourself,
‘What is the worst thing that I can do to my character?’ And do it.