How to Write the Middle of Your Novel: A Go-To Guide
The middle part of your novel is most likely the longest! It is where you put all of the juicy plot twists and character development, and even introduce a few new characters. It also needs to be the perfect link between the beginning and end of your novel.
But for many, it isn't just about knowing how to write the middle of your novel, but also how to get unstuck when you don't know how to progress through your plot.
How to Avoid Getting Lost in Your Creativity Maze
The key part of a maze is that it is so easy to get lost! This analogy remains true for writers as well. But we're here to help you get out of this maze and advance your story toward its true potential. Read on for some helpful writing tips!
Recklessly Move Your Story Forward
As writers, we tend to play it safe with our writing. In our heads, we have the entire story planned out. All of the minor characters and supporting characters have been mapped out, and the main character is on their own hero's journey!
But writer's block is real, and it commonly occurs when we are too scared to see where our story is going to take us. It's a normal feeling and one that, as a writer, you will need to get used to.
We need to remember that writing a book can be much like being in a relationship. Your mind is taking you in one direction, but your heart is telling you to choose a different path.
The reality is that the path that your heart is urging you to take may not lead to the happy ending that you had planned for your book. So, we encourage you to write with your heart. Nine times out of ten, doing this will help you avoid a sagging middle of your novel!
Writing recklessly and not being too fixated on your initial story structure will create a narrative that is unique, unexpected, and guaranteed to keep the reader engaged.
After all, you can always start writing and later review and rewrite snippets of dialogue that you may not like.
Make Sure to Journal
Yes, we are talking about doing some intrinsic reflection! But you may be wondering how this will help. As writers, we tend to forget that we also have a personal life. And, when we go through tough times, we don't always realize the impact it has on other domains of our life.
Thus, journaling will give you a sense of mental clarity that will help you smooth out that mushy middle.
Journaling isn't as tedious as you may think it is. Actually, every single time you journal, you are not only expressing vulnerability and self-awareness, but you are also practicing your writing skills.
Ask Yourself Why Your Story Is Not Progressing
Even though there are personal factors that may negatively affect the story you are writing, there are also writing-based factors that could have the same impact.
When you are writing a specific character's story, you need to be honest with yourself. Is your protagonist bland? Are they unconvincing? Is their dialogue uninteresting or not providing enough tension in the story? These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself.
Along with the above, reflect on when the writing started to become difficult. Forcing content into a plot is one of the biggest mistakes a writer can make. It will only result in obstacles, trouble, and even more challenges the further into your novel you progress.
Do Not Forget About Your Supporting Characters
A story's final climax is primarily when the spotlight is on the protagonist. However, what really rounds off a novel are the supporting characters. By giving them a bit more attention, you are providing a supporting cast that has an impact on how your novel will turn out.
To be blunt, the main reason that you find yourself stuck could be that the external world of each minor character needs more depth and development. Add a new love interest or develop a new and riveting subplot. Your end product isn't just the story of your protagonist!
Review Your Outline
How well have you outlined your story? If it lacks depth, that is probably the reason you are stuck. There will come a point where you re-read a scene, and it either doesn't match your outline, or it just doesn't make any sense at all. This is when you need to go back to the drawing board!
What many of your fellow writers find to be of benefit is to take your current outline and create a timeline of events. Following this timeline will help you see whether the middle of your story is uninteresting or doesn't fit in with the end goal you have in mind.
If you don't have an outline, now would be the perfect time to get one written. You don't need to rewrite absolutely everything. Take a breather, rest a bit, and move forward with your outline from where you are currently stuck.
Skip to the End of Your Story
One of the best writing tips for whenever you're stuck writing is to write the end of your story. Writers of short stories frequently use this approach, as it enables them to think linearly about how they are going to get from the beginning to the end of the story.
This is a perfect way to ensure your book makes sense and that all your sub-plots connect in some way.
Add More Conflict to Your Character Arc
Even if this isn't your first novel, writing the middle of your story needs to be filled with action. So, if you have absolutely no idea what to do, and your protagonist is at a standstill, add a bit more misery.
What we mean by this is that adding conflict, whether it be intrinsic or with other minor characters, will build an insurmountable amount of tension. It couldn't get any worse, right?
So, now you have a good foundation for how not to get stuck in an endless writing loop of wrong turns and a never-ending bland story line. So, what do you actually do when writing about the middle of your story?
How to Write the Middle of a Novel
Instead of thinking of the middle of your novel as one large segment of your book that needs to be written in as much detail as possible, you can break it up into segments that enable you to continuously link two points of your story together.
The First Half of the Novel's Middle
Now that you have already established your supporting cast, created minor characters that bring life to your entire book, and more or less have a direction for where you want your story to go, it is time to tackle the middle segment of your story.
In the middle of a story, you need to show that the protagonist progresses into and through the plot, all while ensuring that your readers are still aware of the world that the other characters are in the process of creating.
You need to remember that your protagonist walks in the world that your supporting cast has created. They are all linked together in some way or another.
The first part of your middle needs to be about your main character exploring a specific problem.
At this point, you don't need to have solutions to that problem, you just need to provide your hero with enough struggle so that readers are enthralled when they leave all the boundaries and challenges in their wake.
You breathed new life into your characters at the beginning of your book, but now you need to introduce sub-plots to build up the anticipation toward the final climax.
You can do this by either introducing a past nemesis, throwing unexpected obstacles in the way of your protagonist, or even dropping a few hints of foreshadowing as your writing continues. Here, you will also start to introduce your supporting cast with a bit more detail.
Let's look at Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone as an example. We are introduced to Harry at the beginning of the book. As we hit the first part of the middle, we are introduced to all of his professors and classmates. It is all about creating a well-rounded narrative.
The Mid-Point of Your Middle
Here is where you need to cause a lot of trouble! Make the problems of your protagonist worse. Better yet, let them get some devastating news in the mail. When you feel stuck in this segment, create the largest scene you can imagine.
What you can do is think of the mid-point as a smaller climax, or a point where liberty is given to cause a scene. But, you need to make sure that the events that make up this part of the story are followed through until the end.
If you are writing short stories, there will need to be a quick and seamless progression from the mid-point of this middle segment of your story to that of the last half of this segment.
What's great is that The Urban Writers has writers and editors who will create a world that keeps the reader engaged. Just when you think the hero of your book is able to take a rest, an obstacle is created that throws the novel into a new and exciting direction.
Creating memorable stories with unique characters is our specialty. So, get in contact with us, and we'll write you a masterpiece.
The Second Half of Your Novel's Middle
This is the most common place in the middle of a story where writers often get stuck writing. The main reason is that you now need to wrap up sub-plots, and introduce an antagonist who has a pivotal interaction with the protagonist, while still delivering a story that will leave a reader wanting more.
Some tips at this point include making sure all obstacles have been overcome, that the protagonist isn't stuck in a continuous loop of dialogue with himself, and that you have tied off all loose ends in preparation for the final showdown.
An example would be your protagonist having a pre-battle monologue with the antagonist. As the writer, you need to make the reader feel that the story is coming to an end.
Bringing an Entire Story Together
After you have finished writing the middle segment of your story, you now need to bring everything together. As a writer, this can be daunting, especially because as you write, you don't want to deviate too far from the intended direction of your novel.
The next few tips that we have for you are how to join the last half of your middle with the concluding scenes of your novel.
What many stories have done rather successfully is to start removing irrelevant characters who aren't a part of the final scene. Send them on a new journey, or pull them away on a mission of their own.
How you decide to do the above is up to you. Just try your best to make sure there are no loose ends when your concluding scene comes along.
How Your Story Structure Affects Writing the Middle of a Novel
How you decide to let your story play out is completely up to you. But you need to ensure that the structure of your story allows for the perfect climax in the middle of your novel. As usual, we have some tips of the trade for you!
What we mean by this is that forcing the middle of a story to fit into the overall structure of your story can produce a result that makes the reader feel overwhelmed, disinterested, and completely confused. This is all the emotion that you want to prevent your reader from developing.
Give yourself checkpoints where you can make sure the story is still flowing in the right direction. This way, you will ensure that you haven't deviated too much from your intended plot, and that your characters aren't left hanging without purpose, progression, or development.
When you are tackling your first novel, writing the middle of a story can be rather daunting. The added pressure on an author who is a beginner is that there is a desire for everything to be perfect. As soon as you realize that this won't happen, the better a writer you will become.
You now have a structure that is foolproof. And, if you ever find yourself stuck with no idea of how to move forward, The Urban Writers will always be here with the expertise you need to create a novel worthy of being a bestseller.