Andrew Solomon on ‘The Middle of Things’
“I want to take a moment to talk about the middle of things. The middle of things is less exciting than the beginning and less dramatic than the end. Middles can seem humdrum. Say that your current relationship to writing has been like falling in love: we exalt falling in love as the finest of all possible experiences. But the reason people marry and stay married is that the middle, when it can be made to work, far outclasses the beginning. Ask people who have been happily married for a decade or two whether they would like to start all over again, and you’ll find that they mostly wouldn’t, even if some are tempted by the occasional dalliance. It gets to be that way with your writing, too, as you get an ever-clearer sense of what interests you, what you can do, what you’d like to be able to do. Your mature work is the outcome of your early work: that there can be no meaningful middle without a meaningful beginning. But the middle is as joyous as enduring love.”
Chuck Wendig on making sure your midpoint isn’t fetid and formless
“The middle of your story is not a straight line going up, down, or on a level plane. The middle of your story is a thing with shape. It has peaks and valleys all its own. It is not a two-dimensional line, but rather, it swoops and turns and loops like a roller coaster. The midpoint has topography, man. It is not an invitation to let the story go lazy and loose but rather to keep it moving, up and down, left and right, through conflict and drama.”
Seven Ways to Add Great Subplots to Your Novel
We could have shamelessly stolen all these points and rewritten them as our own but a) ain’t nobody got time for that and b) this is excellent advice and please enjoy it in its original format.
“My sister is a weaver. While inspecting a particularly striking piece still on her loom, I thought about the intricate, subtle pattern she’d devised and the hundreds of threads she was using. ‘What do you do,’ I wondered aloud, ‘if you realize you’ve made a mistake after you’re halfway through?’
‘Well, you’ve got three choices,’ she answered. ‘You can throw the whole thing out and start over, you can undo everything back to the point your mistake started, or you can incorporate the mistake into your pattern and go from there.’
And finally: ALL (some) of the plot generators
Stuck? Need a fresh idea to liven up your story? Not happy with the direction one of your subplots is going? Just fancy a time-wasting giggle?
Sounds like you need a PLOT TWIST!
Or maybe a brand new EVENT to whack into your plot?
Now you have ZERO excuses not to write, right?