‘Tis the season for thinking about sagging middles, and I’m not just talking about the end result of an overdose of biscotti, peanut butter balls and double chocolate brownies. Though I never believed the sagging middle problem applied to my story, I realize now (again, ever and always) that I was foolish. Though I thought my story zinged and zanged along quite well enough in outline form, NaNo showed me that I had little other than an arc of emotional growth hanging the middle section of one of my two main storylines together. And guess what? That emotional growth arc grinds the pace of that storyline down to unacceptable levels; it has become the equivalent of story fat.
So. I’m on a mission to tone my story’s middle up over the next few weeks, knowing full well that middle toning can be a tricky business when you’re firm on how the beginning and ending story parts play out; whatever you decide to add can’t inadvertently detract from the tale or you’ll just be inviting a new band of pacing problems.
Here are a few of the tricks I’m going to road test: [Read more…]