Okay, what’s going on here? I’m at the far end of the middle of a story that has worked very well up to this point. Now I feel like I’m pushing instead of being pulled. I have learned that my story just is not as good that way, so I need to step back.
What’s gone wrong? The conflict is still there, my characters are strong and I like them–so I’m missing something. The first thing I have to do is walk away for a few minutes (or longer). I need to settle myself (hey, the laundry has to be done sometime and it’s a great opportunity). If I’m still not there after my foray into housework–and nothing gets me in the mood to write more than doing housework–then I go back to a place in the story that was really hitting all the marks. And read it. And sit with it.
It’s day dream time. No it doesn’t look like I’m working, but no one is here to see and I know I really am getting something done. I’m letting my characters off the leash to see where they’ll take me. Remember the “When the Characters Take Over the Ship?” This is when I need them to do it.
I usually find I’m not letting my heroine show her full strength. In most of my stories it’s the heroine who saves the heroes bacon–am I not letting her do that? She’ll walk away from me if I don’t use her well enough.
I know others use charts or montages or their outline! Those don’t always work for me. What about you? How to you get your sagging middle taut again?
“..nothing gets me in the mood to write more than doing housework..” Hah – I can readily identify with that!
I think you have partly answered your own question re stepping back. Leave it for a few days then go back and re read it – that often works for me and sometimes results in me amending some of the original text.
As for outlines – I think it’s a mistake to make them too prescriptive. They are flexible and can be deviated from when inspiration strikes, providing you don’t go too far and write yourself into a corner with no clear way out. Quite often it’s the characters who point the way through the tortuous middle…
Good luck 🙂
I think that’s my mistake with outlines, it’s as though I think they’re gospel or something, so now I avoid them – notes and snippets of dialogue work better for me. Thanks!
I have to do the same thing, and sometimes I just how to wait until they are ready to tell their story. I’ve tried to keep writing without the characters help and it’s such drivel I end up just deleting it.
Daydreaming helps, although to be honest I quite often fall asleep.