Don't let the reader get bogged down in the middle of your book
Do you watch The Walking Dead
on AMC? If not, I'll catch you up: it's part zombie apocalypse, part Poseidon Adventure,
with a sprinkling of Lord of the Flies
, and Unforgiven
For the first two seasons, I was hooked. Then I read the comic books that the show is based on — reading well beyond the point at which the TV series had left off. From that vantage I could really see how much the 3rd season was dragging, dragging, dragging — stretching what was probably 50 pages of comic book plot into thirteen 45-minute episodes. A big let-down.
But the real problem with the TV adaptation this season wasn't necessarily that it got stretched, but that everyone — viewers, critics, readers of the comic book, even the characters in the show — knew precisely where the plot was headed at the end of that stretch. So while there were a few minor twists and turns along the way, the eventual outcome seemed certain
. And every episode that passed without that event occuring felt not like an intensification of suspense, but yet another let-down.
So without risking the same long sag in this article, I'll get right to the point: don't let the middle of your novel drag.
Writers spend so many hours crafting great beginnings and endings. They're usually not as careful with the middle — and, as author SJ Rozan says, the middle is why we read books.
So here's 4 things to keep in mind as you journey through the middle of your own novel-writing experience:
1) If the structure of your story is pre-determined, don't linger
on any one plot point longer than you need to. Tell it well and move along.