The Sagging Middle

I don’t mean the sagging middle and big bottom I’m getting from BICHOK, (butt in chair, hands on keyboard) a necessary evil if I want a finished book to publish. I mean the middle of your story. You know, after you introduce the characters, take them on their journey, they realize what they must do…and now what?

The dreaded sagging middle where a writer with a few books under her belt will put (they go somewhere) (they do something) (and something happens) LOL You know how it ends. You kind of know how they are going to get there. But you are stuck with what way to make it exciting for the reader. How do you make it more readable than they go here, they do this, they meet such-and-such?

In suspense, thrillers, horror, and mystery, right about now you throw in a dead body; literally. In those genres just when it seems there is light at the end of the tunnel…someone must die. In contemporary romance, not so much. Or are they the same?

Okay, maybe not an actual body, although I did escape the dreaded sagging middle in Tempting Adam with the death of a beloved family member. And I did throw in a killer storm with a waterfall from hell in Divorce, Interrupted. But you can shore up the beginning of a sagging middle with the death of a plan, a future, a direction your character was going. For example: your character can think they have everything mapped out. A way to save the farm, to make Grandpa’s dream come true, to finally take that trip to England they always dreamed of. Make yourself the monkey wrench in the dreams, the plans, the hopes for happiness. You are the writer of the story, it is your job. What your characters will have to do to fix this is what takes the sag out of the middle. When you go back to What If? with your characters, this is when you really build their character or backbone. How they react to the mess their lives are in is when we really get to know them.

Don’t confuse dreams not coming true with The Black Moment. That is next Monday.

Jill James


8 thoughts on “The Sagging Middle

    • Calisa, hahaha about the gray and white. It is just softer than black and white. I don’t write on Word in black and white either. I have light blue and dark blue. I can’t stand to stare at the blank “white” page. Mind trick.

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