Saturday, March 18, 2017
The Dreaded Sagging Middle by Jannine Gallant
No, I'm not talking about my middle, which certainly isn't as firm as it once was...but let's not go there. I'm talking about the middle of my manuscript. My books are about 90,000 words. I hit the 50,000 word mark and came to a bumpy halt in my current work in progress. I know how it ends and have enough exciting action planned for the last 20,000 words (hopefully), but that gives me 20,000 words to get to that point. (This is a series with each book required to be roughly the same length, so shortening it isn't an option.) I have a couple of events scheduled for this middle section, but I've been diddling around for days writing the first one and getting nowhere. It finally occurred to me that I'm not moving the action plot forward. It's stagnating, waiting for the exciting end. The build-up of my villain has happened. It's too early to spring the really creepy part, and the feeling of danger has tapered off with a whine and a whimper.
What to do? What to do? I think all authors go through this sagging middle phase in their writing. Or maybe they don't, and I'm just lame! It's not because I haven't made a rough outline because I finally broke down and did that. But these two big events on the schedule (a wedding and an overnight getaway for the hero and heroine) serve to progress the romantic conflict. They do zip, nada, zilch for the suspense. The problem is my book is romantic suspense. Readers expect to be kept on edge! So, what's the solution to prop up my suspense?
I turned to my trusty CP, Margo, who suggested making something happen to give the villain a sense of urgency that causes her (yes my villain is a woman) to lash out. A very good idea. Now I just have to figure out what and how. But since none of my potential bad girls have a reason to be at the wedding in progress (and I certainly can't drag all of them there), I'm still stuck. Deep sigh. So, what do all you authors do to claw your way out of the sagging middle of a manuscript. I could use a few brilliant suggestions!
My latest release, WILDE THING, doesn't have a sagging middle. I promise. Nor does the first book in the series, WILDE ONE, currently on sale for 99 cents. Get your copy now! Visit my WEBSITE for more info on my other straight-up books that don't sag. Happy reading!