Bell offers these suggestions to spice up our middles:
- Analyze the stakes. What will our main character lose if she doesn't achieve her objective? Unless it's major, our readers won't care.
- Strengthen the adhesive. What ties the protagonist and the antagonist together? Keep it strong.
- Add another level of complication. Our poor little protagonists must be tortured by us heartless writers. We should think what's the worst that can happen? Then do it.
- Add another character. Someone from the past who makes things miserable for Ms. Protag? Hmmm.
- Add another subplot. Bell suggests we use this one sparingly, as the subplots must be organic.
- Push on through the wall. At this point, our confidence level may drop. We might feel as if our book is headed straight for the bottom of the bird cage. This is the wall, and Bell reminds us that most novelists hit it at some point in their first drafts.
By the time I'm done, my main character might want to slap me in the face instead of holding my hand. I can live with that. My job is to make my book as strong as possible.
How do you tackle your middles? Please share your secrets!
photo credit: Barnes & Noble