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Friday, April 17, 2015

“Kill” Your Middle



By Kelly Bridgewater

Last week, I discussed opening lines and how to grab your reader’s attention. Today, I want to give four suggestions on how to bring more tension to your middle. Don’t forget to return next week to uncover some suggestions on how to work on your endings.

Everyone knows that the middle part of a story can be the most horrible thing to write. You may come up with a great premise and start off with a bang. You have spent hours and pages writing and discovering what makes your characters kick. Maybe, if you write like me, you know how the story is going to end, but as you travel the story you get stuck on what happens in the middle.

I have four suggestions that I have used to bring more interesting elements to the middle of my story. Of course, there are tons of variations to how to do each one.

1.      Kill someone
I know this works well in a suspense or mystery book, but in a romance it might not work so well. As an avid mystery writer, I enjoy finding dead bodies, throwing conflict in the ways of my hero and heroine. Nothing is worse than working on a current dilemma and come across a dead body that may or may not have something to do with your current problem. Wrecks havoc everywhere.

2.      Isolate
This will work in all types of genre. Have the hero or the heroine run out into the countryside or travel down a dark alley (told you I like to write mysteries). This is a good time for the character to ponder what has been happening, feeling abandoned, or being chased and hide. It allows the reader a moment to breathe and catch up.

3.      Love interest
Nothing brings more conflict than bringing in another love interest. Either someone from the past or someone who can tell a secret about the hero or heroine. What I did in one of my stories was not have the hero mention to the heroine, not because he wanted to keep it a secret, the time was never correct to mention it, was bring in a current girlfriend. This threw the heroine in a fit where she confronted the hero, sparks flying. Great tension to liven up the story’s middle.

4.      Lie
Have a secret come to light. Nothing brings more tension than showcasing a secret that will wreck the character’s lives. It does not have to be a big lie, but something that will create conflict to your characters.

Of course, there are many more ways to bring conflict to sagging middle, but I enjoyed writing this. What do you do to bring conflict to your middle?

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