What is The Middle?

A: a funny sitcom on Wednesday nights on ABC.

B: That flabby saggy part of me that desperately needs a plastic surgeon’s care.

C: The nonexistent part of my current book that desperately needs an author’s care — and at the moment, I’m pretty sure I’m not that author.

All the answers are correct — though we’ll ignore B right now, thank you very much — but I’m going for C today. I’ve written the first chapter and a half of the new book. I know my hero and heroine. I’ve got the suspense and tension and attraction and emotion. I’ve started the synopsis, and I have the beginning nailed. I have the ending nailed.

I just don’t have a clue how to get from beginning to end.

It’s not a huge deal. I go through this with probably half my books. It’s just crazy-making, which is why I talk to myself a whole lot these days. Ironing out all those little details, weaving in clues and red herrings, making sure there’s enough action, ramping up the tension, figuring out where the relationship should be at any specific time in the book . . .

Sometimes I actually include all those things in the synopsis. Sometimes I gloss over a lot of it, giving just enough info for my editor, bless her long-suffering heart, to give the okay. But either way, at some point I have to know what’s going on, and with a suspense, it’s always better to know sooner rather than later — especially given how much I hate revisions. It’s no fun to get two-thirds of the way through a book only to find out that your plot can’t work or can’t be tied up in the remaining third.

Too bad it’s Friday. If it were Wednesday, I could take a break and go watch The Middle.


12 thoughts on “What is The Middle?

  1. Marilyn,

    I’m pretty sure that “hump day” is analogous to this part of writing. It’s a hard hurdle to overcome. I’m sure you’ll get there. You’re the consummate professional. spw

    • It is a tough hurdle. You’d think sooner or later I’d get a handle on it, but I can see myself at 90, hunkered over the computer, muttering because that %^&* middle is still eluding me!

  2. D–the answer is always D.
    Good luck with the book…I’m so anxious to read it.
    And BTW: It is Friday the 13th–not that superstitious.

    • Thanks — and for the reminder it’s Friday the 13th. Maybe that’s why my allergies kicked in at 3 this morning and haven’t relented yet.

      Though I’m not superstitious, either. (Throwing salt over my shoulder.)


  3. I like Meg’s answer – D. 🙂 Actually, I have the same problem…I know the beginning and the end, but that darned sagging middle eats my lunch every time. *sigh*

    Oh, and I LOVE Friday the 13th. One of my luckiest days. (Yeppers. I am ‘odd’.)

    • A lucky day, huh? I feel like I’ve gotten tangled under a ladder with a black cat and an open umbrella.

      It’s not fair, since beginnings and endings require middles, that they should be so tough most of the time!

  4. At the moment I’m having trouble with the middle and the end. hrmmm…which is why I haven’t actually started writing it yet. Still in plot stage. I’m really itching to write tho.

    Your books are always fab, so I have no worries that you will figure it out. 🙂

    • Thanks, Ash. At least you have the sense to figure out the plot before you jump in to write. I can’t count how many stories I’ve started before finding out something was wrong. I actually wrote over 200 pages of a romantic suspense before it hit me that it wasn’t working. Ugh!!

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