Show Me the Middle


I’m writing the last chapter of my novel to show me the middle of the story. Some where on the scary white screen, the solution to my problem lurks like a polar bear in a snowstorm.

frustration-was-threesixtyfive-day-244-8_lThis last-chapter-first isn’t my original idea, of course, but this is the first time I’ve felt the need for this kind of inspiration and guidance. (My muse is of no help. He’s off in the Bahamas somewhere, warming in the sun and drinking my Corona.)

I suppose each novel presents new challenges but somehow I’m in an unwanted pause mode. Too far in to stop. Funny, isn’t it? Last novel I had to cut over 10,000 words, and this time I struggle for each paragraph. Maybe I’ve forgotten to first draft with my heart and not my head.

The successes and problems of the first novel taught me so much; the second novel shows me how much I still have to learn.

What are you learning from your second novel?

15 thoughts on “Show Me the Middle”

  1. I’m sitting here taking a break from my first few days into the sequel to my first book which I’m still editing but I need an escape from it for a while. Writing the sequel is actually helping with a lot of ideas for plot tightening and character development for the first book which is awesome, but it’s not getting my first book finished!

    I think this time I feel more confident to just get any old crap on the page rather than trying to make it really good. I spent a lot of time trying to make the first book really good and it’s still a mess so I’m just writing, whatever, anything. I’m doing it in random chunks too. Many chapters to go back and fill in when I work out what needs to be in there.

    Thanks for this post! 🙂


    1. No problem. I am compelled to share my writing torment with others:)

      I’m going to try the random chunk thing in this last chapter. Good idea! And, you’re right, too much time searching for perfection sows the seeds of chaos, at least in a first draft.

  2. I learned how important structure was. A mystery writer friend told me to plot the second act from the antagonist’s perspective, but write it from my protagonist’s POV. Simple really, but it works!

  3. Middles are so hard! I’m revising the middle of my story right now, and if you could look through your computer and see me right now that image in your post could very well be me (except with long blonde hair and a big fluffy winter sweater on …)
    I keep asking myself, “Whatever was I thinking when I wrote this!!?”
    Well, I was in the middle of my story and I had to keep writing to get to the end!
    And yet, as I go over each weak conflict and downright stupid plot twist, one by one, I’m making each of them bigger and smarter and more meaningful.
    It’s still scary, because, just like you do, I doubt myself at every turn. I think doubting might be part of this gig. That’s what I’m learning from my second novel revision. 🙂

    1. Yes, I agree. Doubting is kicking my butt; it just comes with the territory. Even the big guys and gals doubt themselves.:) I remember reading a dedication in a well-known paranormal writer’s second book thanking a friend for pointing out something was wrong with the first draft. Somehow I felt reassured. It’s not just me!

      However, I’d probably be better off if I had just continued writing to the end, but there’s a reason for stopping here. Something (not sure what yet) has to change. So I’ll soldier on, finish the last chapter and mine that tiny hint that will give me the middle:)

  4. I learned from my second novel that it remains hard work, and I still never see the real story before I’ve tried to write it the first time. The end tells me a great deal about where I went wrong or what I should have done in the middle. It’s a back and forth adjustment throughout revision.

  5. Second novel…blimey I can only dream of doing my first. Good self advice though to start with your heart and not your head…let fly the imaginative synapses and see what hits. I can send you some Corona if this would help?

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