Muddled in the Middle

Recently I have been wondering what the hell I’m doing. I had a strong start, and I knew exactly where I was going. Then I hit the middle, where I needed to do some work on the characters and their relationships before shooting into the end. The problem is that I have been feeling like all of this work isn’t really going anywhere. There’s very little action and I think there probably should be. This is a problem primarily because I somehow need to get the story back on track in order to build up to the ending. And I’m not quite sure how to do this.

The more I write with this story, the more editing I feel it is going to need before it will be good enough. I have already decided that there are several scenes that I will need to add in the early parts of the book for character development. I’m also planning on going through the whole thing and identifying places where each of their defining traits are explored. I will also need to decide how each main character is going to develop over the course of the story and build some plot threads to do so.

So as you can see, I’m losing my focus. Over the last few days I have been looking at the nice big whiteboard I bought for helping me with my plotting, and I realize that I have gone pretty far from the original outline. What I think I need to do is go back to my outline and see if I can’t either get my story back on track, or at the very least edit the outline to reflect the changes I have made. The problem is that I have been focused so much on getting in my words each day that I feel like I don’t have the time to spend on doing that work.

Speaking of which, I don’t think I’m going to get my 700 words in today. I have my critique group tomorrow night and I haven’t read any of the submitted pieces yet. So I need to take some time to do that and prepare my comments before I end up looking like an idiot. I’m hoping the group will also have some valuable advice for me on my submission as well. I gave them the first 8000 words of my story, and I am really interested in seeing what they have to say about it.

That’s it for today. Keep in touch and I’ll see you again on Sunday!

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3 Comments

Filed under ROW80, The Writing Experience

3 responses to “Muddled in the Middle

  1. A piece of advice I’ve heard several times is “If it’s boring for you to write it, it will be boring for your readers to read it.”

    Good luck with getting back on track! You can do it!

  2. I’m absolutely not the person to give advice on finishing a novel, as I’m still working on my first, but I’ll pass on some words of advice that someone once gave me:

    If you aren’t sure where your story is going, skip to the part you’re sure about. Writing the scenes/chapters that you see clearly in your mind will help you to get back to what you originally intended, and along the way, you may discover how to tie the beginning of the novel to the end.

    Again, I can’t vouch for this personally, but it sounds good, right? I wish you the best of luck in getting back on track!

  3. I had 67,000 words toward a novel when I hit the same realization, all the inertia washed out of me like so much Mississippi silt, and the novel died. That was the first novel I tried to write. In the end I put it away, decided to work on a different idea, and mourned that novel about a week before moving on. I still have it on my hard drive because there’s a lot of good stuff in there, and I know how to fix it–but it will take a full re-write to do it.
    Since then I’ve written three novels (all in various draft stages), but still haven’t managed to work myself up to tackle that first one.
    I’ve also come to develop what I call my Golden Rule: if I think the second draft is going to look like a re-write, I toss the work in a drawer until I’m ready to start again with a blank page.

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