Last week we took a look at In The Beginning. Now it is time to Break Into the Middle. The real heart of the piece can be found here. The middle is all about confrontation. It is full of complexity and looks deeper into the life and thoughts of the lead character.
The middle should do many things. Most importantly it should keep the reader wanting more, and set things up for a culinary delight as the end. The middle is the real meat of the story, as the reader will spend the most of their time here. In the beginning we got to know the main character and the world they live in. As we move into the middle, we need some major conflict cutting up the peace and keeping our reader entertained, we also need a reason for our lead character to stay here, cooking up more drama. Our characters, like us, will prefer to stay in their own little comfortable world, and the reader will notice if there is not a real reason for the character to be stuck in a world of chaos. The main confrontation and objective has to be critical to the main character or it will not be important enough for the main character to stay in the heat of the kitchen.
If you find you don’t have enough oomph in your middle here are a few things to look at: 1. The Stakes. What does the Character have to lose? Is it enough to keep him moving towards his goal? 2. Is there a strong adhesive? Does the character have a real reason to keep fighting? 3. Add some more complication. Obviously if there is not enough reason, then we need to juice up the action. 4. Add another character. Maybe you do not have enough people to keep the situations going. 5. Add more subplots. This can be difficult as they are hard to tie up if you have too many, but they can add life to your story. 6. Write more. Maybe you just have not uncovered the real reasons behind things yet. As you write more, you learn more about your characters and the story they have to tell. Sometimes you just have to let them finish telling you all the details.
A pot must first boil before the elements can meld and thus give us The End. Join me next week and we will take a bite out of what is found there.