It’s the middle that has us in a muddle. It’s either flabby and inflated: carrying extra layers of story fat, or sunken: devoid of attention grabbing conflict. The middle lot of chapters tend to shed momentum, the pace slackens and things slow down to a crawl.
It’s at this point readers lose interest in the story. Its then the time to ask ourselves how to keep the middle as sharp, spicy, crisp and interesting as the rest of the book.
I have realized that a lot can be done to spruce up and tighten the middle. I am currently doing this. A few plot twists can stir things up, the introduction of a new character will keep reader interest alive, even the exit of an old character will elevate the suspense. A life altering situation can be added. As well as few surprises; both for the reader and the protagonist. The middle can also be the start of the final clash which we can call the pre-final climax. The protagonist will then have to make a decision on the next course of action.
The middle of my current WIP has settled down to a slow trot. My middle chapters need a really good stirring up. So I added a little emotional turbulence and made it a time for the protagonist to indulge in a bit of introspection about her motives. Inner conflict was increased. What was my character willing to sacrifice to achieve her goal? If she doesn’t win what would be the consequences and what would happen to her?
The middle is the time to push our protagonists out of their comfort zones, throw them into shark/whale infested waters and watch them battle successfully. The protagonists have to earn their stripes. They have to tie their shoe laces tightly and ready themselves for the final round. We can add a life threatening event which will shake the protagonist and the reader out of their boredom induced stupor.
Middle portions of manuscripts are trying and taxing indeed. What do you all do to keep the interest and suspense alive? Is there any way to tighten the middle belt? Please share your middle secrets with us, as we all often get in a muddle over the middle.