Thursday, March 15, 2012

The sagging middle

No, not yours, the book’s.
Many authors spend huge amounts of time getting the beginning of their books just right. Everyone knows an author must attract the attention of the reader/editor/publisher/agent with the opening page or they won’t keep reading. Also many writing competitions use the first few chapters as their test, so authors polish, polish, polish the start to get it perfect.
Then authors work hard on the ending to tie up all the plot threads, make sure there’s no loose ends, nothing unfinished, and satisfy the reader with the Happily Ever After. Again, they check and recheck, polishing the ending to make it fulfilling for the reader.
But the middle? Ah, that’s another story.
The author has worked so hard on the start of the book they’re relaxed by the time they reach the middle and relaxing into the story is good. But it’s not so good if the dialogue waffles, the plot meanders off here and there, and the action slows to a crawl. The entire book doesn’t have to be fast paced, but it does need to keep progressing steadily toward the denouement.
Authors, don’t forget the middle. Polish it too. Tighten up saggy storytelling. Delete unnecessary dialogue and description, keep the book moving and you’ll keep your reader happy.

Helen Woodall
Need help? Helen is available to critique and edit your book. Rates on application.

1 comment:

anny cook said...

Heh. Sometimes I resemble this...