Friday, May 15, 2015

S is for Sagging Middle

Margaret talks about mid-book crisis

It happens to all of us. The sagging middle. We started our book so eagerly but then ground to a halt. And all because we didn’t properly plot. And how about pansters like myself? How do we get around it?

My own method is to keep on writing until I come out the other end, and then go back and re-write the part that’s not working. We all work differently, though. I know the best way to avoid it is to meticulously plot. Easier said than done. I never know what’s going to happen until I write it. I like the element of surprise. The times I’ve said to myself, “I didn’t know that was going to happen.”

There are various reasons why we get writers block. Perhaps you’ve given away too much too early in the story? Information needs to be fed in slowly during thoughts or conversation. Or maybe you haven’t fleshed out your characters enough? Do you ever do character studies before you begin to write? I write about two pages for each of my main characters. Apart from physical descriptions I write down all their likes and dislikes, hobbies, families, pets, jobs, anything and everything until they become like real family members. I like to know my two main characters thoroughly so they don’t come up with any nasty surprises along the way. I don’t want anything to ruin my carefully written work.

Admittedly I haven’t always done this but when I did started doing it I realised how much easier it made my job.

What methods do you use to avoid the sagging middle?


  1. I'm like you, Margaret. I just keep writing until it's finished. Then I go back and have an easier time seeing what needs to be fixed, changed, deleted, etc.

  2. Glad to hear I'm not on my own. Jennifer. I'm of the belief that if I try to plot my book out from beginning to end it would be a waste of time because it's my characters who lead/tell the story not me.

    1. I tried it once and it was awful. I had to do so much rewriting that it just wasn't worth it.

  3. With one book I got to Chapter 13 -the sagging middle! - and decided the story wasn't working - too slow, not enough happening etc etc -and went back to the beginning again. I breathed a sigh of relief when I eventually got past Chapter 13!

  4. I just keep going as well. Once there's something there, at least I have something I can fix.