Saggy thick middles are the worst. I wish my books weren't prone to them. Hell I wish a lot of books I'm reading
weren't prone to them. I've sent a few back to the library lately because the middle bogged down so much it wasn't worth it to me. I did (or am) finishing a couple that would have been rated much higher by me if the middle hadn't been a bog.Blackwing
was a mostly enjoyable grimdark fantasy that might have gotten five stars from me if not for that overstuffed middle (hell it deserved it for not being exploitative, points to links below). I'm still getting through The Girl Who Drank the Moon
which won a Newberry award but man, I don't see how a young reader is slogging through that middle. If I wasn't reading the former because I'd won it and was expected to review it and the latter because I need it for a reading challenge, I might have set it aside thanks to those slow, SLOW, middles.
So how DO you avoid the boggy middle? This is me asking, not me advising (which in theory is what these posts are about). Pony up some answers if you think you have something that works for you.
I'm not sure I know. Action you say. Fair enough. I can't argue that can I? A little, yes. Blackwing
had plenty of action but it seemed to be covering the same ground rather than moving us forward. Introduce subplots and character arcs? That's what The Girl Who Drank the Moon
and managed to mire itself in too many new arcs.
How about character introspection? Probably the fastest way TO the bog. That didn't stop Nevada Barr's The Rope
. Granted this whole thing feels like a boggy middle. Having an abrasive character doing tons of introspection and layering it with a lot of descriptive metaphors where one would do, not your best bet (Honestly if this wasn't book...well over 12 I know that, it probably wouldn't have left the slush pile).
I don't know the answer. What I do know is more and more every book feels the need to be 400+ pages and not every book needs to be. I've read so many lately that feel artificially inflated. Even my own but seeing what to cut is another whole blog post where I say 'I'm pretty sure I don't have a clue.'
Link-a-palooza. You want writing links? I have way too many this week.
From Betty: (Thanks as always!) We both thought this one was very good Sensible self promotion
and this one water writing
(which really is what I did all august and trying again this sept with the write every day challenge). free self publishing course the type of writing you SHOULDN’T become steps to building your world weaving backstory into frontstory setting the stakes when dark and gritty is just exploitation
This is MY problem with SO MUCH grimdark fantasy dystopia and SF (because it's usually women turned back into rape objects and breeding stock)
And now for links from others writing exercises Using ARCs for promotion Getting that book out of you self publishing advice how to throw a book launch party that isn’t a waste of time
Yearly Word Count -
25021 / 100000 words. 25% done! This may be the first year I don't make my goal. 5 years ago I kept upping the word count and this year I'm unlikely to make it. That depresses the fuck out of me and it's all my own fault.
Splinters of Silver - editing nothing
Blood Red - waiting for edits
editing 3 novellas - did jack
Behind Blue Eyes - nothing
Haunted Hocking -
10073 / 60000 words. 17% done!
Flash fic for Chuck Wendig's challenge -
999 / 1000 words. 100% done! (and no it's not done so thank god he threw out the word count)