Writing the middle of a novel, memoir, screenplay gets a bad rap from writers. Granted, it’s easy to get lost in the maze of subplots and secondary characters that people and populate the middle. Keeping track of where you’ve been and where you’re going becomes challenging (which is where using the Plot Planner as a story board comes in handy). Following are 5 tips to keep in mind how not to get lost writing the middle of your novel, memoir, screenplay.
Creating twists and turns in the middle makes you dizzy and turned around. In your confusion, doubt creeps in about your sanity for even taking on such a project. The crisis awaits and the thought of ripping everything out from under the character you’ve grown to love makes you weep. All you want to do is go back. Instead, I urge you to forge on.
5 Primary Goals of the Middle
Instead, keep in mind the 5 primary goals of the middle. Look for opportunities in every single scene in the middle of your novel, memoir, screenplay to:
1) Deepen the protagonist’s character traits you introduced in the beginning.
2) Create an unfamiliar world that keeps her off-balance
3) Develop secondary characters with goals at odds and in conflict with the protagonist’s goals
4) Intensify the uncertainty of the outcome and dramatic question: will she or won’t she succeed? by intensifying the demands of her opposition
5) Show her learning new skills and beliefs in the middle she’ll need to succeed in the end – perhaps not even consciously or with full understanding how the skills will serve her in the future. Have the lessons and tricks be part of the external plot of the middle and directly related to one or more of the secondary characters in the middle as part of their shared subplots together. In other words, the talents, power and moves play into the plot in the final ¼ but neither the characters nor the reader know that in the middle of the story.
Additional tips how not to get lost writing the middle of your novel, memoir, screenplay (video #15) and the beginning and end, too, check out How to Plot a Novel video on-line program.