Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The Most Difficult Part

 Different folks struggle with different stretches. We’d be gingerperson-cookies if this weren’t so. But then, there are the life patches that we have in common and find challenging.

For many who write stories, the middle is the hardest part.

I used to feel alone in this until I began communicating with others. Some call it the muddling middle, which is just what writers would do for such— conjuring a nice alliteration.

But why should the middle of a story be so hard?

Part of it is the way we train ourselves to come up with roaring bang-up first line/paragraphs. This is essential to hook the reader/listener. Okay, Check. ✔

Then, there’s the matter of the ending. Pure pantsters (writing without any plan by the seat of their pants) may find endings daunting. Most storytellers know the beginning, the protagonist’s challenge, and (get ready for this---) the end. Check.✔

The end is a bookend to the beginning of the protagonist’s quest.

I heard John Grisham respond to a question about writer’s block by saying he always knows the ending before he even starts on a new novel, and so he must envision how to get there and avoid the blocking bumps. Along that bumpy part, you must do everything not to lose the passengers/ readers.

This brings up the most challenging part: all that middle. The meat of the tale. The how to get from the beginning to the end.

Beginnings and endings take care of themselves. Middles don’t. Middles are the hardest part.


Vijaya said...

Oh yes, middles are hard for me too. I typically know the beginning and ending and the major sights along the way but I can still meander too much in the middle. I have to write a proper outline after I finish a draft to make sure everything's happening in a logical order. What a gift to have revisions!

Janie Junebug said...

I like the bookends.


Mirka Breen said...

And I like the books in the middle that the bookends hold :P

Kelly Hashway said...

I felt this way too until I started writing mysteries. They have to have clues woven throughout and new discoveries, which I’ve found keep me fully interested throughout my drafts. It’s a welcome change.