Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Help-My Middle is Sagging!

Not my belly, thank goodness, but the middle of my WIP. Yep. I've reached one hundred pages and am bored.

Sometimes our manuscripts get a little flabby if we don't pay attention to conflict. Yuck, but true.
Since I'm not an expert (obviously, since I've encountered this problem on my THIRD manuscript) I'm going to point you elsewhere for wisdom.

The one on Fiction Factor is awesome and very detailed on how to possibly fix the problem. My lovely friend Anita generously shared her link to it with me. By the way, if you check out her blog she has a whole bunch of great links posted.

So, has this happened to you? Your story is out of juice and you're only half done? What do you do to jumpstart it? Or have you had to go back and completely revise?

15 comments:

Sarah said...

Unfortunately, this has happened to me twice, and both times I've given up. Oh well, you know what they say...third times a charm!

anita said...

Hey Jessie! Thanks so much for mentioning me. :-) Oh, and I came home from work totally expecting to see an email from you. I felt this pang of loneliness when I didn't have one. *snicker* I'm shooting one your way soon...

I like this post. I'm going to have to check out that huge archive of writing articles and see if they have anything about sagging midsections (BTW, your joke was cute!). I'm all curious now...

As for me, in the past I seemed to always have more trouble with getting the book started. Is there such a thing as a sagging beginning? Once I got the story started, it seemed to do fine from there. I think I'm getting better at beginnings now, but I have to always make a conscious effort.

I guess we each have our own weaknesses, don't we?

anita said...

Oh, and I see your word count has climbed a bit! WAY! You're beating me by percentages again. :-)

Jessica said...

LOL Anita,
I haven't changed the word count in a while. I still think you're beating me.
And trust me, I thought many times of sending you an e-mail, but couldn't think of what I should say.
Looking forward to yours!!

Jessica said...

Sarah,
I've heard that many times editors feel like an author's 3rd manuscript is when they really seem to get it. Good luck with yours!
How's the thousand words a day?
Remember my running? It's been weeks. I feel like this is true confession time. I also haven't woken up (willingly) before seven in ages.
The things we want to do...
So, what genre are you writing?

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jessica -

I enjoyed the article - very informative. I thought my first book was finished when I hit 55,000words. Several people at a conference burst my bubble with the news it had to be 80-100,000 words.

Back to the drawing board. New conflicts, beefed up characters, and lots of action brought the word count up to 96,000. I'm hoping I can hang onto 80,000 by the time it goes through the slash and burn of editing.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Sarah said...

My hubby isn't so great. He's been spending a lot of time in bed (exactly where he should be). We're still waiting patiently for the right liver. Unfortunately, I've been slack on both my blog and my book. I'm writing an inspirational romance, and NOT sticking to the 1,000 words a day. I'm hoping to pick back up on everything after Chris gets his "donation."

Do I sound like a downer or what? On a lighter note, I'm almost caught up on my reading and enjoying the beef jerky I won!

anita said...

Jessie, I thought for sure I saw your word bar move a bit to the right! Teehee. Still, your sitting at 48% and I just now hit 46%. If you look at it that way, you're still ahead.

Sarah, I don't know you, but I think you sound amazingly grounded and chipper for someone who's going through such a rough time. God bless you and your hubbie.

anita said...

Oops! I just realized I've reached52% done. I don't know where I got that 46% business. Oh well, it's just awesome to know that we're both so close to being at the halfway point.

Keep up the writing!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Sagging middles? I've heard that you should ask yourself what wouldn't your main character want to have happen at this point, then make it happen, and have them struggle to deal with it.

Me, I have to ask myself this all the way through. I sag everywhere, it would seem. LOL

Jessica said...

LOL Eileen!
That's a great way to up the conflict and hook the reader!
Hehehe, sag everywhere? That's funny :-)

Sarah said...

Thank you for your kind words, Anita!

Jessica said...

Hey Sarah,
Anita is very kind :-) Her blog is on my sidebar-A Still and Quiet Madness.
I hope he feels better too, or that an organ becomes availables soon.

haleigh said...

My middles always sag too, Jessica. I blast through the beginning, and hit warp speed toward the end (I wrote the last 40,000 words in 15 days. Seriously!), but the middle takes me months and months. Usually it's because I haven't plotted well and have to back up, and it takes an excessive amount of brainstorming to get me back on track. This next story, I'm plotting it out *before* I start - lol.

Susan - don't panic yet! 55,000 words is the perfect length for Harlequin/Silhouette and the Steeple Hill Love Inspired category lines (http://www.eharlequin.com/articlepage.html?articleId=538&chapter=0)

Jessica said...

Hmmm, that sounds like me Haleigh. I'm about to head your way.