How do you get from point A to point B in your novel?
The middle of a novel can often sag if there isn’t enough information or enough tension to hold the reader’s attention.
“Well,” the reader says as he closes the book and puts it high on the shelf, “the beginning was good, but then it all kind of went downhill from there.”
Do you want your readers to be saying that about your book? No, you want them to finish the book. Beginnings carry the book for only so long. Then it’s up to the middle scenes to take the reader to the very end.
Let’s look at it this way: pretend your book is the reader’s soulmate. They’re in a relationship together. No matter how long they’ve been together, they should always learn new things about one another, right?
You have to keep the relationship fresh. You have to keep the love alive.
There are many ways to do this. After the honeymoon phase–the beginning–is over, the reader wants the book to spice things up a bit.
Learn something new about the protagonist.
No, I don’t mean reveal that the main character has “crystal blue eyes” because one, that’s cliche. Two, who cares at this point? If his eye color had any significance whatsoever we probably should have discovered that long ago.
Reveal a new flaw.
Reveal a new motive for why he does what he does; good or bad.
Reveal a new side to his personality; as long as he can still remain in character.
Keep the plot moving.
Let the protagonist discover something new about the antagonist; whether it’s a flaw, something good, or their motive.
But seriously, don’t let the antagonist monologue and reveal their plans. Because… Been there, done that.
Introduce a new character.
Here’s the catch on that one: does this new character have an significance to the book? Will this character help the protagonist in any way? Will they come back later and somehow save the day?
If the answer is no to all of those questions… Dump the new character.
Keep the tension high.
Let the protagonist get lost on his journey.
Let the protagonist get captured.
Let the protagonist’s team members or friend get captured.
Have a character get hurt.
Have a character get killed.
Maybe the bad guy misled the main characters and now they’re in trouble, confused, and have to fix it before they continue their quest.
You want your reader to not have enough willpower to put the book down. You want your reader to try to restrain himself from flipping to the end just to see what happens.
There are plenty of other ways to keep the middle from sagging, but those are just a few ways. I’m sure you guys have your own methods on how to keep the middle enticing and exciting to the reader.