Thursday, April 23, 2009

At the Midpoint

I'm so excited! My word counter finally says fifty percent done. Whew. I feel like I've made progress. I'm finally halfway through.

I think the middle of a book is so important. This is where the tension is upped, where some threads are added to, others are resolved and the main one is complicated even more. Sometimes, this is where the sagging middle comes into play.

The midpoint of a story is a good place to look at everything happening and take stock. Is the conflict getting higher and higher? Are the characters different than at the beginning of the story? At a different place, in the process of changing?

This is how I look at the middle. What does the mid-point mean to you? What usually happens in the middle of a good book or movie?

49 comments:

anita said...

Hey Jessie! Great obsrvations about the middle of a book! It's sort of like the Wednesday of your book. It's all downhill and full steam ahead after that. :-)

I can't think of anything more to add, and I'm supposed to be getting ready for work anyway. Heh.

But when I saw that you reached the midpoint (WOW) I just had to get on and say CONGRATS!!

Keep up the hard work, girl! You're over the hump. :-)

Jessica said...

The Wednesday of my book! Woman, you are a genius! LOL I love it. Thanks for commenting. :-)

Debra E Marvin said...

I must say I enjoy watching your 'word meter' move across that page. I have a completed wip - if you can call those last chapters of scratch done. I have no idea where half done is because I'm into the clean up and polish part of the middle and the balance is nothing but bones.

The sagging middle is a scary thought. I'm trying to keep adding new twists throughout this portion. I will need a new set of eyes to let me know how I did.

Hey, I booked my flights yesterday for Denver. Very excited.

Jessica said...

Ooh, for ACFW? Does that mean the info is up? I'm hoping to maybe go to that.
So you write skeleton first? That's interesting. As you flesh it out you'll probably get a good idea as to the ebb and flow of the story.

Janna Qualman said...

You rock! Keep at it. :)

The middle for me brings questions, like you said, about what all I have going on. And then the doubts about how good (or not good) it may be. :(

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Something big usually sets the pace high again at the middle in the books I really enjoy reading. Now, to put that into practice in my own work. Sigh.

Jessica said...

Janna,
I just got through a big doubt too. Stopped writing for two days while I thought about it. I have a great writer friend who offered to read through it for me and I'm going to take her up on it. It helps to have an objective view on what is or isn't working. :-) I totally feel you on the doubts.

Jessica said...

Eileen,
Great point. You mean like a twist or a big turning point? I think you're exactly right. And like you said, now for it to happen in our own stories. LOL

Jennifer Shirk said...

Ooh, I'm sort of at the midpoint of my story, too.
Right now my characters have yet to make any break thrus with their internal conflicts so I'm starting to touch on this now so my middle won't get too saggy. (I hope) :)

Windsong said...

I've never really thought about the mid-point much.

*makes note to do so in the future*

Congrats on passing the 50% mark! The word count is something I pay attention to. Sometimes on a minutely basis. ;-) Good job!

Jody Hedlund said...

Middles are definitely challenging for me. I'm not sure how I'm doing on mine. I'm curious to get the feedback from my editor. I know I need to improve!

Great progress this week!

Jessica said...

Hi Jennifer,
Is that how we keep our middles from being saggy? Great point. My characters are still in conflict too, though things are warming up. :-)

Jessica said...

Thank you Windsong! I'm excited.
:-)

Jessica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessica said...

Jody, did you go and get published on us? LOL Just kidding. Did you pay someone? I'd be super curious too. Let us know what you learn.
:-)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Wow! I'm amazed at how fast you write.

I'm revising the middle of my story right now. If I ever get out of this editing phase, I'll be thrilled.

Blessings,
Susan

Cindy said...

Hey, congratulations Jessica! I agree with you about the midpoint of a book. The tension should be upped here and it's an important time to take stock of what you have. You need to be set up for some major conflict and possibly a turning point.

Midpoints are always my favorite. From that point on I feel like the story just flows and flows and doesn't stop. Yay!

Jessica said...

Hi Susan,
Just remember: Quantity doesn't equal quality. :-)

You'll be out soon and I hope what you see is wonderful!

Jessica said...

Hi Cindy,
I tend to like the second half too. My first chapter or two usually flows and then after that it's an upward battle to the midpoint. And then, down we go, tying up threads, tightening conflicts, headed for the big black moment. :-)

Jeannie Campbell said...

oooh...i like the Wednesday of a book, too. Hmm..a literary hump day. like it, love it.

the middle is where other books sag that aren't well-written (yet still managed to get pubbed, go figure). usually that's b/c the action tapers off or slows down. so we need to remember that pacing is of extreme importance in the middle!

Jessica said...

Hi Jeannie,
Very true. Pacing is something I'm still learning about too.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Jessie:
Congratuations! That is so cool. I am proud of you!
Hopefully the middle means you will pick up some steam and rush for the finish line. You go, Sweetie!

T. Anne said...

I'm a third done with my WIP and I long for the middle! It's another opportunity to rev up the engine and take the book into it's final destination. Have fun.

quixotic said...

Congrats on getting to the middle!!!

Jessica said...

HI Jen,
Thank you! I hope I pick up steam too. :-)

Jessica said...

So true, T. Anne. Congrats on being a third through. :-) It's all progress! Hope you have fun too.

Jessica said...

Thanks Katie!

Kerrie McLoughlin said...

congratulations! this is a really big deal.

Jaime said...

Congrats!! That's a neat achievment. The middle to me usually means I stop writing and go back and re-read to check out the flow and the tension. You're right about that sagging middle, it's a scary thing sometimes.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Congrats! A good midway in usually has a thickening, twist or reversal in the plot.

Pen Pen said...

at this point u gotta start scaring the audience into thinking things won't work - it's the beginning of the end and the end needs to have been building from this point.

Terri Tiffany said...

Hey I'm there too! Congrats! I found I had to stop and look at the plot and up it some and really increase the tension and twist. But once I did-- I find myself wanting to rush it and I have to pace myself like I did with the build up in the first half. I think I like the middle but get me through the rest!

Jessica said...

Thank you Kerrie. :-)

Jessica said...

Hi Jaime,
I don't usually go back but with this one I am and it's really helping me to see where I could improve and tighten the story. Smart advice.

Jessica said...

Exactly Angie. I need to think about what I'm going to throw at my characters. :-)

Jessica said...

Pen Pen,
That's an awesome way to say it. I hadn't thought about scaring the reader, but good point.

Jessica said...

Terri,
I'm completely amazed that you're at the midpoint. Congrats!!! That's pretty awesome. :-)

jessie said...

Yea! Fifty percent. You've been busy. I haven't reached my middle yet, but I am tempted to skip ahead and write it. It seems you are a linear writer. I've known authors who skip around and write scenes and then tie them all together in the end. Still haven't figured out which one is for me.

Jessica said...

Yeah, I'm definitely a linear writer. I once wrote an end scene before I'd finished, but that's the only time I've ever done that. I think it's kind of cool that you can write scenes out of order but then fit them together.

Anil P said...

In the middle portion I would expect the pace to even out by a bit, and yes, like you said, connect threads together, and kind of meander.

It helps the reader gather their thoughts.

Irritable Mother said...

Congrats on making it to the middle!
I don't know how writers do it, but when I'm reading a really good book, I don't even notice the middle, because all I can do is focus on getting to the next page. I love a book that leaves me just a little bit disappointed when I have reached the end. Disappointed, that is, because I want to keep reading.

Jessica said...

Anil, good point. There should be room for the reader to catch their breath, I think.
Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Jessica said...

Hi Karen,
I love it when that happens. I remember several times noticing that I was almost done with a book and just hating that it would end.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Congratulations on reaching the 50% mark! Woo-hoo!

In screenwriting the middle is usually where there is another new twist or complication added into the story.

And one of my husband's screenwriting teacher's said that in movies the sex scene is usually at about the halfway point - I guess that could be seen as an added complication too.

denise petrovich said...

Way to go Honey!!! That is awesome. Take your time writing the middle. Your right in assuming it could cause the reader to loose the lackluster of the book (momentum) if it is "sagging" like you said. Have fun! Love Mom

Billy Coffey said...

I have a friend who is a rock climber. He says that the beginning of a climb is easy because you're fresh and the adrenaline is flowing. The end, too, is easy, because the sight of your goal gives you a second wind.

But it's the middle that's the toughest. That's when you start to get tired. You look up and see how far you have to go, and you look down and see that it's too far to give up.

The middle, he says, defines what you're made of. The middle reveals your dedication and your faith.

I think he's right. And I think you're right, too.

So glad I stumbled upon your blog!

Jessica said...

Thanks Kate!
Great point about the sex scene. That's very true. Since I write inspirational, the midpoint is kind of where I plan for the characters to become comfortable with pursuing their relationship, and maybe even kiss. LOL Gotta love those kisses. Thanks so much for that screenwriting input. Very interesting.

Jessica said...

Thanks Mom! :-)

Jessica said...

Billy,
Wow, what a great analogy! Someone else has been doing posts about rock climbing (Cindy, maybe?) and it's so very true. I love your comment.
Thanks for popping by and commenting! :-)