Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Indie Life / Writing Wibbles
Muddle in the Middle
Let’s pretend a shiny new writing idea just happens to come by when you don’t have any other pressing projects going on—or maybe you’re just burned out on your current WIP and need to pound on something else for a while. A pivotal scene, perhaps the climax, is just itching to get out of your head and into your computer or notebook.
You start working on this new project, and a couple weeks later it’s taking shape. The beginning looks good, and the ending is awesome! If only that big gap in the middle would magically fill itself in… and now, the real work begins.
This happens to me enough that I have a name for it: the muddle in the middle. If I plotted out the whole thing to start with, I have a series of blank scenes in Scrivener with a title and maybe a paragraph or two describing what's supposed to happen in one or two of them. If I pants it… same hole, different (or no) name.
Usually, logic and time (and persistence) are enough to straighten out the muddle and get a story finished. Logic is a great tool to keep handy—simply ask yourself how does your hero get from Point A to Point B? and remember that very few paths are arrow-straight. It’s not only the journey that’s important, it’s how your hero grows on that journey. There’s a central conflict to win, after all. Even if the hero has what’s needed to begin with, like Dorothy’s ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz (the movie), she still has to learn the how or why.
Time is another helpful tool, especially if you aren’t on a deadline. Sometimes, just closing the project window and walking away is the best thing you can do for a story. Let your subconscious chew on the plot, and sooner or later you’ll know what to do.
Now it’s your turn.
How do you work through that muddle in the middle?
Thanks for reading, and check out some of the other Indie Life writers this week!