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.