For some of you, tomorrow you’ll reach the official halfway mark in your 50,000 word novel. Others will have completed their first writing project, while some may not be quite halfway, because life happens. We’ve talked a little about both. The interruptions, and navigating in and out of the turn for the middle, but today I’d like to address the halfway mark itself.
First celebrate. You’ve written more than ever in your lifetime. You’ve proven that you could do what you had always dreamed you could do, you’ve written at length. While you’re not yet to the finish, you’re somewhere you’ve never been before.
Second, pour into the middle of your work. It’s so easy to spend so much time on the beginning and ending, that you leave out something here. The middle needs to be strong enough so that it matches the start and finish of your story. It is the bridge that will cause a reader to keep going from one part of your story to the other.
There’s a temptation to hurry through this section. When you resist that, you’ll find that the middle can be as enjoyable to write as the other sections. One method of doing this, is to recognize the importance of it. Anything you believe in, you’ll invest in.
Third, this Middle template may help you as you structure the middle of your work. It follows the what, where, journalists questions, with a little twist. That is this, is why necessary?
- What questions have I asked that are not yet answered?
- Where do the characters need to be at this part of the story?
- How will I take them from here to the finale?
- Who’s journey should end in the middle?
- Is why necessary- In other words, do I need to eliminate something to make the story better?
It’s very easy, in the beginning of a story, to bite off more than you can chew. When grand themes, points, or details seem essential to our idea. By the time we are in the middle, we see what is meat, and what is fat.
It’s completely okay to trim off, wrap up a smaller detail, or end one character’s journey. I’m not saying you have to kill someone off, but if they turn out not to be as crucially first thought, transfer them to Siberia. Just be aware of one trap with this.
It will require, when the first draft is finished, revisiting, to see if the character or plot needs termination, instead of transfer. This is true of every part of your story, I only mention it here to remind you, make course corrections in the middle, but review the route when you’re finished.
Taking some precautions in the center of your writing can make the middle as strong, if not stronger, than the whole story. You may find yourself revising the open and close, to make it as impactful as the halfway point. Take your time, resist the urge to hurry though.