As I begin my second draft, I ask myself…does the story I’m writing sag in the middle? I’ve started with a great hook, and ended with a strong resolution, but does everything in between enough to carry the reader through to the end? Here are some things to consider while avoiding your sagging middle…
1. Is your character interesting enough to hold the reader’s attention? What is your characters story arc (growth arc)? What makes them change, and how do they get there? Map out four or five events that cause your character to change or grow as a person and build a story arc that will keep readers wanting to know more. The characters story arc should eventually force him or her to make a decision that propels them into the last climactic scenes of the book.
2. Do the subplot(s) keep the reader engaged? A subplot allows you to comment on an issue or a contrasting point of view. This also provides you with an opportunity to insert plot twists that make your story both interesting and exciting. To avoid a sagging middle consider adding one or more subplots, carefully weaving the subplots and plot together to create a strong story from beginning to end. Keep in mind, a strong plot must interconnect with the stories subplot(s).
3. Is there a prevailing theme that weaves it’s way through your story? Themes can build continuity and help lift a sagging middle. I found this helpful hint: In order to reinforce the theme of the book; use your settings to reflect your theme.
Here are some examples…
• A story about a woman struggling with loneliness and isolation might take place on the great plains of Nebraska.
• A couples attempt to repair a rocky romance might be set on the rugged, windy, and turbulent coastline of Maine.
• A woman struggling with her sexuality, suffering from a repressed spirit might live during the 1800’s a time when women were confined and hidden by corsets, high collars, long sleeves and skirts.
I hope that these three simple suggestions will help you avoid a sagging middle. Happy writing!