I Don’t Want a Saggy Middle!July 25, 2010
While on holiday, I finally managed to nail down my troublesome “Mr. Elliot Scene”, thereby launching myself out of the ‘beginning’ of my novel (all conflicts introduced and accounted for!) and into the ‘middle’ of my story (where the conflicts progress!).
**Moment of congratulatory silence to honor the passing of this great milestone**
Yahoo! I have never made it to the middle before! I used to just re-write the beginning over and over. Whew! That only took about 10 years to accomplish!
So here I am, hands on my hips, looking forward towards the next horizon, wondering…NOW WHAT?
Technically, I know what comes next in the story. I just set up Conflicts A, B, C & D. Now there are logical ‘next steps’ I need to take to get to W, X, Y and Z. Mind you, I don’t know all of the steps in between (I am not one of those keen outliner types, who nail down every plot detail beforehand…I like the pain…er, I mean fun…of on-going discovery…)
But I do know that for my conflict/plot to immediately progress, my main character has to do a few tedious chores. She has to write a few important letters, for example. She has to attend Mr. Elliot’s lecture. She has to have a specific talk with her aunt.
I am not satisfied with these next steps! Something else needs to happen right now: something really exciting. It’s like I want a car chase (carriage chase?) or for something to blow up (the wine cellar?). I want Mr. Elliot to kiss her (but its too soon for that?) or for Lord Byron to suddenly show up in the drawing room and go on a drunken rampage, smashing all the Wedgewood china…
I started my novel in one genre (the Jane Austen-type rom-com-mystery) but I feel this urge now to stand the whole thing on its head somehow. I’m not sure what I’m meaning by this (zombies, anyone? Ha, ha!) but I’m getting impatient with my usual Regency shtick: dinner party, dressmakers, musical concerts, picnics at the country estate, carriage rides, marriage mart, etc.
Something needs to break it up a little…I don’t want my middle to sag! (As was recently discussed in #scribechat, this is an affliction which many otherwise decent novels suffer from: its the lull that sometimes happens in a story after you’ve gotten past your initial conflictual introductions.)
Honestly, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m stuck. Stalled. (Panicking!) Mulling things over…
-Perhaps I should re-visit my outline, give it more detail
-Perhaps I should channel the darker side of the Regency period, include more elements of the Romantics, the Gothic…(Lord Byron, Mary Shelly, Ann Radcliffe, et. al.)
-Perhaps I should suddenly switch perspectives for awhile
-Perhaps I should switch to a diary/letter/story format for awhile
-Perhaps I should skip this part and go write another part
-Perhaps I should re-read what I’ve written in its entirety, get the ‘big picture’
-Perhaps I should consult the Tarot!
Do you have any suggestions, perchance?