30 January 2011

Tone up those saggy middles

Editing and rewriting your novel part 2.

SoYouThinkYouCanWrite contest by Harlequin is nearly resolved. It seems that the organisers replied to the majority of participants. Although we all expected there would be rejections, the fact that there will be A WINNER came as a bit of surprise. I guess, the winner (and runners-up?) will be announced on Monday on Harlequin blog.
photo by Idea goat FreeDigitalPhotos.net
One of my eHarlequin and blogging friends, Serenity Woods, has already got her reply (you can read her well-balanced and thoughtful, if not serene reflections on her experience here).

I'm still waiting and trying to carry on editing my NaNo and SYTYCW novel, in case I've got a request for a partial (miracles happen :)). I've rewritten my opening chapter and the following two and now I'm entering the shaky ground of the middle.

Roz Morris have recently posted on her her 3 fixes to give a story a good middle, and here are mine.
How to write (and rewrite) a well-paced middle?

1. Think of your character arc. Where is where she/he needs to get by the end of the book? Where is she/he now? What are their motivations? What changes does she/he need to undergo to get there? What challenges do you throw at her/him to give her/him a chance to change? How do you show the change happen?
Repeat for any main character you have. Make sure their stories intertwine.

2. Think in scenes. Which scenes are crucial to your character and the story? Which scenes show the journey? Write these ones first, then the less important but still necessary ones. Link them. In genre fiction links can (or even should) be limited to a couple of sentences (e.g. When she got off the bus, he was already waiting with a bunch of flowers).

3. Plan for your climax. Is there anyway you can foreshadow your climax? Which of the middle scences could be used to hint the reader at what is to come? Make sure that you have shown all the skills, abilities etc your character needs for the final challenge and the climax (miracles happens but not in fiction, so no last minute secret weapons digged out of the pocket, unless you've hinted at the existence of this pocket and your character's tendency to hind things in pockets, and their mastery at using the secret weapon, and... )

4. Keep track of what you're doing and stay focused on the story end. Have a map of your hero journey or a plot line and tick the milestones along the way. Keep record of the number of pages you write every day. Get one of those word count/ writing progress meters widgets (you can get them e.g. from Writertopia)- I love them! - it helps me see the end.

Enjoy it!

No comments:

Post a Comment