The Monster in the Middle


I am 25,000 words into my MG fairy tale re-telling WIP. Exactly halfway (well, halfway to the 50,000 I’m aiming for). And I’m starting to feel the drag – the fatigue that comes along at this point in novel-writing.  I’ve already finished building my world, and I’m still a good 15,000 words from the exciting climax and conclusion. For the last few weeks I’ve had to drag every word out of my brain and onto the computer.

So I thought I’d share with you some of the ideas I’m using to help me get over the hump and slay the sluggish beast that is the monstrous middle:

1) Take a break. Last week I didn’t write a word on my WIP. I wrote blog posts, drafted 3 PBs, and revised another PB, but I gave myself permission to ignore my WIP.

2) Re-read what you’ve written. When I did NaNo I didn’t have time to go back and re-read. But since I’m at the point of doubting my skills, I want to go back and re-fall in love with this world and the characters I’ve created.

3) Go back to the drawing board. I’m not saying to scratch everything, but go back and fill in more details for the middle section. Outline the heck out of the next few chapters until you get to that exciting conclusion. And while you’re at it:

4) Make life harder for your MC. Is the writing getting boring? Maybe that’s because nothing’s happening in the book. Clearly, the MC has it too easy. Throw in a few more obstacles and put some more danger in her life.

5) Read some good books in your genre/category. Do they slump in the middle? How do those authors avoid falling into a rut? (Obviously I’m not suggesting copying, just learning from how the masters do it.)

6) Know when to walk away. Maybe there’s a reason the middle isn’t working. Maybe you’re reluctant to write because you’re seeing plot holes or world-building issues that require an entire re-write to fix – assuming you even know how to fix them. Then you have to decide: scrap everything and start over? Or just scrap everything? I don’t think there should be any shame attached to realizing your WIP isn’t working. On the other hand, if you constantly find yourself getting discouraged around the halfway mark, it might not be the book – it might be you.

And that’s all I’ve got. I hope to dive back into my WIP refreshed, and renewed next week.

What are your tips for beating the monster in the middle? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to add some new tricks.


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