Inspiration Station: Middle

IS Middle

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.

If you thought this post was helpful, be sure to check out my post all about BeginningsEndings, and Prologues/Epilogues!

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Inspiration Station: Beginning

IS Beginning

Your novel has to go through a certain test before a reader buys the book. The summary on the back cover isn’t enough anymore.

After getting past the cover and title (because let’s face it; we all judge books by their covers when we know we shouldn’t), readers thumb through the pages. Some people read the first couple of lines.

Without even realizing it, they’re checking for the writing style and the type of characters they’ll have to deal with. Is there an info-dump at the beginning? Is the information too vague?

Beginnings are fragile and if you don’t get it just right, it might be what stops a reader from buying your book.

When beginning your novel…

Give us an idea about the plot. Some beginnings can be slow and the plot takes some time to warm up–which is fine–but you don’t readers to be on chapter three and still have no idea what the point of the novel is.

Make sure you introduce a likable protagonist. Give us some background on him or her, but not too much. You can’t give away everything before the novel truly gets started.

Speaking of characters, introduce secondary ones gradually. Let us wonder why those characters are there, why they’re significant in the book.

Sometimes all it takes is one line.

The first line of a novel is the beginning before the beginning. All it takes is that one first sentence to hook the reader in and they continue on.

There are many different kinds of first sentences to help give your beginning a bit of a boost in the right direction.

Dialogue

“What are you doing?” Andrew asked his sister holding open the door, his eyes wide in horror at the sight.

The reader wants to read on because they want to know what Andrew saw. Why did it shock him so much? Also, they wonder what his sister is like if she’s causing her brother to react in such a way. Is this something she does often? So many possibilities open up.

Action

Kyle’s car side-swiped a fence with a piercing screech. It slowed him down, but he was able get going once more as he pushed harder on the gas pedal. He glanced in his rear-view mirror with worried eyes, sweat glistening on his forehead. They were gaining on him.

Start off with conflict right away. We don’t know why Kyle is running, why he’s being chased, or who is chasing him. It’s one of those things that we just have to absolutely know the answer, so we naturally keep reading.

Introduction

He looked as though he was in his mid-twenties. He brushed his sleek black hair out of his face revealing his dark green eyes. Then he bent down and lifted the crate, his arm muscles pulsing from the weight.

Introduce a character. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the main character. From this narration we can assume the protagonist may be admiring the man from afar. The readers want to know more about the man and the narrator. Also, why is the narrator watching the man lift crates? It can’t be that interesting, can it? Then again, his muscles were flexing…

And that’s why beginnings are important.

There are so many other ways to start a story, of course.

Make your reader crave more with each sentence, paragraph, chapter. Before they know it, it’ll be 2 in the morning. They’ll close the book and say, “I want more!”

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, check out my post about MiddlesEndings, and Prologues/Epilogues!

4,678 Words

Dragging Along…

 

Every time I write, I post on here right after. If this happens in the morning, then I usually say in my post that I’m going to try to get some more writing done later on that night. I never do that. Yesterday, I actually did.

I wrote a total of 4,678 words today, but about 800 words of that if from last night. 800 is better than nothing. Plus, I made up for it this morning.

I still have about 45 minutes before I have to get to class, so I could actually write a little bit more, but I’m beginning to make typo after typo…I just wrote for almost two hours, which is pretty good.

I don’t think that I’m going to get any more writing done tonight. I’m probably going to be dead tired by the time I get home from work. Today is my long day at school and then I have work right after, so it does wonders to my body…

Even though I won’t be using this time to write, I am certainly going to use this time to read. I have about 100 pages left in Beautiful Creatures. I did not bring it because then I knew that I wasn’t going to write at all. I have my boyfriend’s Kindle hooked up to my iPod and there’s a book called Eye of the Wizard that he wanted me to read. I’m just about halfway through that, so that’s what I’ll be doing while I wait for class to start.

As I said before, I am not going to change the pages read thing because I will confuse myself. I am changing the words written…even though I confuse myself with that as well, but I don’t think that I have screwed up yet. If I did, maybe I’ll make up for it because I will hopefully write over 365,000 words by the end of the year…even though I am currently behind. 😉

 

2013: 41,268/365,000 Words Written
2013: 932/18,250 Pages Read

Ready…Set…

…Wait A Minute…

 

My laptop is fixed. The internet is fixed. The only thing that sucks about it is that it killed my battery…that thing used to last five-six hours. The other day it was at 50% which apparently is now 33 minutes…but whatever! I have to be thankful that the thing actually works again, right? Right! My flash drive is officially gone, but…think positive! Oh, and the printer still won’t work…again, think positive!

Except I haven’t written anything…I haven’t really had the time. Except I’m stuck at school today for a little bit and I don’t have work today. Well, I’m babysitting today, but that’s only for two hours unlike work. Anyway, here is my point: I have to leave for class in about an hour or so, so I think I’m going to begin writing again. Start fresh. Clean slate. After class, which ends at 11:45, but I have a test so I’ll probably be out of there by at least 11:30, I may write again. Although I have a meeting with my advisor at 12:30, so I might just hang around until then. But when the meeting is over, I’m stuck at school until at least 1:45 before my friend drives me home so I can write after the meeting! Although, my friend has a test as well so I might actually get out of here fairly early…

Anyway, I then babysit 3-5ish and then when I come home: BAM! I’m breaking out my typing fingers again. The other day when I pasted “Sad News” I had the hardest time writing it…wanna know why? I hadn’t typed in so long because I hadn’t been in school and I hadn’t been able to use my laptop because of the internet, and I hadn’t been writing at all. My fingers basically forgot how to type. It really was sad news. I’m having a hard time typing now, but I think that’s because my fingers are frozen.

Back on topic: I’m going to write at any moment I can…or any moment I can get to a computer. When I come home from babysitting, I’ll write. And I shall write all night! I’m not going to school tomorrow, even though I have a math quiz.

Everyone has heard of this blizzard that we’re going to get, correct? It’s starting Friday morning and ending Saturday afternoon. I don’t know where any of you are, but in my area we’re going to be getting about two feet of snow as well as some really harsh winds. I doubt I’m going to have school tomorrow, but if I do, the roads and such are probably going to be terrible by the time I get out of class. My class tomorrow is 9-10:15. So I think I’m just going to skip regardless of whether there is school or not. My main concern is work. Fridays I work 11-6 so if my town doesn’t close school, then I’m going to have to go to work…if it is bad then it will be a good thing I skip school because otherwise my poor dad would have to drive all the way to my school and then all the way back to our town to drop me off at work. I live about 20 minutes away from my school, but that’s without traffic and such. With the snow…it would probably take over an hour just to get there.

But again…back on topic: Basically I’m going to be home all day tomorrow, Friday. I highly doubt I’ll have school and work, but we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m praying I won’t have work. But since I’ll be home all day with nothing to do, I’m going to write all day. Saturday, too. It’ll still be snowing and I never do anything on Saturdays anyway, so I can just write all day. I think it’s going to be a very productive weekend!

My only concern is that if the power goes out…considering that my laptop only lasts probably a little over an hour now, I’ll be screwed. Although, I have plenty of notebooks I can resort to, but typing is a lot faster. Plus, I have my iPod and I have apps called DraftPad and A Novel Idea. I’ve explained A Novel Idea before, it basically helps you plan out scenes, titles, characters, plots, etc. It’s really cool, really fancy, and free. DraftPad, another free app, is a blank piece of paper and you just write anything and everything. Then when you’re done, you can post it to a website, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail it to yourself, whatever. So I could use that and e-mail it to myself in case the power comes back on. Then I can start where I left off. But then if my iPod dies…eh, whatever.

So I’m planning a productive weekend and I hope it’s productive for all of you people out there, as well! If you’re in the area and you’re going to get hit by this storm…be careful and good luck! I’ll post back tomorrow morning with how well I’m about to do with writing. 🙂

Getting Back Into Habit

I Actually Wrote Today…

 

Well, I did it. I meant to do it all day today, but I got a good hour in. Since I had nothing to do today I thought I thought was going to focus on writing all day, but I just didn’t really feel like it…at all. So it’s six o’clock in the evening right now and I wrote for the past hour. It’ s better than nothing, right?

I didn’t feel like writing anything, but I forced myself to do it anymore. I need to get back into the habit of writing for at least an hour every day. Even though I wasn’t very into it, I think I whipped out a pretty good chapter, if I do say so myself. I am now on chapter six, but I’m not going to start it now.

This last chapter we learned a little more about Adair. Apparently she went to college for engineering and quit when she had two classes left. Dominic couldn’t believe she wasted all that time and money and Justin couldn’t believe that she got good grades in such a tough field. They’re such supporting friends, aren’t they?

Anyway, they didn’t get anything done writing-wise in that chapter. My characters are starting to take after me and that’s not really something to be proud of…

Well, I have school until two tomorrow and then work at 2:30 until somewhere between five and six. Tomorrow night I’m going to have to try to find some time to write for an hour because I know that I’m going to be pretty tired. Although, it is supposed to snow pretty heavy tonight…I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a snow day for the first day of school. 😉

 

2013: 15,139Words Written
2013: 825 Pages Read

Three Down

Three Chapters Done…

 

I’m still writing The Blank Page. I don’t know how many chapters this novel is going to be. I’m on chapter four, I haven’t started it, though. I do think that for chapter four I’m going to have them all read what they have so far. Not all of it, of course. But it should be an interesting chapter. Justin hates everything that Adair does, Adair critiques and does everything and anything to bother Justin, and poor Dominic is there just wanting some real feedback on what he has so far.

It’ll be in a tough chapter to write because I know what Dominic’s plot is, but I haven’t even thought once about Adair’s novel or Justin’s novel. This chapter is going to be a long haul, but that’s part of the reason as to why I’m planning this chapter to be like this. If I’m going to write about three people writing three different novels, I need to know what each novel is about and how each novel is going to turn out. I’m sure whoever reads this series would like to know, as well.

In the last post I mentioned how I was thinking about writing their novels. Well, I think more on it now and I realize that if I wrote those three novels right now, it would certainly help me write The Blank Page and the rest of the series. I will already know the plot, the characters, the beginning, the middle, and the end. But, I’ll wing it for now. That is what editing is for, right?

So I set my timer for an hour once more and again I stopped before the timer went off. I stopped because I finished chapter three and I wasn’t really looking forward to writing a little of chapter four for three minutes and stopping right in the middle of it. Of course, I could have written more, but I wrote a lot today. I made it to 11,010 words. If I wrote another 281 words, then I would have broken my word count for day seven. This fake NaNo thing is really working out for me. It’s too bad that the real NaNo didn’t work out for me. But then again, I got pretty far in that novel and I did finish it in December, so I guess I can’t really complain.

That’s all for today. I may write a little bit more today, but I do doubt it. I have a few other things that I need to get done and I just have to say thank God it’s the weekend. I don’t have work today, which is a plus because that means I don’t have anywhere important to be later.

See you tomorrow! 🙂

 

2013: 11,010 Words