We had another great creative writing meeting on Sunday. I enjoyed it very much. Our group is getting bigger, we now have 10 people. Running this class was something I wasn't ecstatic about at first, since I had never done any kind of teaching, but the ladies have been very supportive of me and my years of stage fright. I think I'm getting better at it!
We had two main topics this class, POV, and the sagging middle. Not the sagging middle that most of us writers seem to gain sitting in front of the computer typing away at our future novels, while we munch on junk food, drink coffee and like me, smoke cigs. (Although, there are the one's who write drunk!)
No, it's the other sagging middle we writers have, the one two thirds of the way into our manuscripts. The one that makes us pull our hair out, the one that makes us rewrite constantly. You know...that one!
Now, since I have touched on POV several times in my posts, I thought touching on the sagging middle subject would be a new creative writing topic to discuss.
What causes this problem? Well, I was glad that one of the ladies in our group asked.
Mainly the biggest cause of the weak middle is panster writing, instead of a plotting. Writing by the seat of your pants can leave "holes" in your sub-plots and plots, and when you get to the climax (the end of your story) you will leave the reader unsatisfied.
In fact, if the middle of your book isn't building up to the climax, often times you will lose the reader. This is where pacing comes in, and sub-plots. You really need to have some idea as to the way the end of your book will be so that you know what events will happen to lead up to this big ending.
By creating even basic outlines and or graphs of your book, you can see the entire manuscript right in front of you. You will see if you have several chapters that are boring, or too much info dump, or maybe just not enough oomph to get the reader to continue to turn the page.
This is a good time to come up with another problem your protagonist needs to face. As I have said in the past, conflict is your friend. But you do need to make sure that all makes sense to the reader and all rings true, other wise the reader will not "buy" in to it and close it. (you don't want that!)
Plan your book and your characters out ahead of time, or at least a basic outline of them. Know what's going to happen and what leads up to the climactic ending, and keep tension higher.
You will be glad you did, and it will help to to get your manuscript to its fruition!
Have any of you ever come across this problem? I would love to hear what you did to solve it!
Until Friday, I hope all of you have a great week and I want to thank the people that gave Elizabeth such a warm reception! I do hope that some of you check out her books!