I love this little picture because it really demonstrates the point I want to make about the middle of our novels. The concept is a compilation of ideas learned over time. A bit from the blueboards, a bit from conferences, a bit of my own.
We should think of the middle third of our books as knots ..
tying the opening inciting incident to the final climax.
Sound like a tall order? It is! And, it is the most difficult part of the book (for me) to write.
So, what makes the perfect knot?
1. reconnection with main character we need to be certain the reader is consistently connected to our characters. Only then will they care what happens in the second half of the book. How many of us have set a book down at the half way point because we think, the story isn't bad but I just don't care what happens anymore and I've got more important things to do. Look at what is happening to your characters in this middle third and ask why would my readers even care?
2. a false impression of resolution that main character seemingly tackles the problem...but, could there be trouble around the bend?
3. foreshadowing to the turning point at the end of the story every end should have a moment where the character says 'a-ha! now I can fix the problem! -- our middles should set that up so it does not make the reader feel cheated or disconnected from the ending.
Like a knot, the middle third explains the start and foreshadows the ending. Don't drag on in exposition or go off on tangents.
Keep it tight and make the reader feel connected to the characters.
Now, I need to take some of my own advice and do some manuscript chopping today!
Questions: any other middle work advice? how do you navigate those tough middle third waters? Who got a nap this weekend?