Stuck in the Middle

The manuscript for my second book should be done now… but I’m flagging. I seem to be having trouble sitting still and focusing on my book for long periods of time. I have, I’ve realized, a common case of the horrible middle blues.

There can be many reasons for this, but an interesting one I’ve recently read about is a clash between the outlined plot of the story, and the characters who drive the story. Outlines are a the best way to harness a story, but my experience is that art can be a slippery thing to handle.

Sometimes your characters just don’t want to follow the outline. You spend the whole beginning of your book developing a character, but when you reach the point of enthusiastically releasing him into the middle of the story: he flounders.

Characters may strike out unexpectedly or overreact emotionally… sometimes you are forced to make them do things that seem out of character and then you wast time trying to explain just why they did… all in the name of sticking to your outline.

So if you are like me, perhaps it’s time to disseminate your outline and return to the point in your story that you loved the best. Now listen to your characters. What do they want to do?

Or I suppose,

I could kill them all and start anew.

I bid you now ado.




About cjgosling

I paint, I sing, I walk in the rain. I'm clumsy and I love the smell of campfire. My head is full of imaginary things and the only thing I ever really want to do in life is write. My first book "Shadowlands: The Guardian" was released in Feb. 2011. The sequel is coming in 2012! View all posts by cjgosling

2 responses to “Stuck in the Middle

  • Rusty Biesele

    Forget the outline, let the story go where it wants to go. Sometimes I think it works better to have a list of plot points, things that need to be addressed (things that need explaining, conflicts that need resolving) rather than an outline. The original layout of my set of serials was totally different when I started than it is now. Especially when I had a kid read a draft and he started imagining things that were not really in the story. After hearing his feedback, I thought, gee what a wonderful idea. And I put his imagined story into to the story for real. You just can’t always predict where things will go.

    The story always has an element of the writer. Over time, you change as a person due to new events in your life. So, over time, the story changes to reflect your changes.

  • Shannon Mayer

    Ah, the middle. Now worries Charity, you can pull through. THough I must say I like the idea of just killing off the characters and starting new! Good luck 🙂

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