muddled middles

Borrowing the body of my latest blog post for the group.

Writing the beginning of a story is easy. The possibilities are limitless, constrained only by imagination. As we begin, each new character, situation, setting, and explanation helps develop an image of person and place and circumstance, requiring the writer to be true to the parameters as they move forward with the story.

Endings are easy, and when I say easy, in both cases I mean <em>easier</em> than the middle ground. Before writing, that is as a reader of the works of others, I would have guessed the middle part of a story would be easiest to write. After all, in the middle there is no need to wrap things up, nor is there a need to establish a character’s identity or the story theme.

The problem, at least for me, is that middles can get muddled, and if I am not careful, can find the story bogging down in wanderings that are not essential to and perhaps impair the overall story or its flow. I mention this because I’m writing in the middle ground now, within a story already existing in rough form. Taking care, I’m making major changes to these elements. To be safe, I refrain from sharing as I normally wood upon completion of an element, and instead work five in tandem, making certain they play a story role, with consistency within the story, and in relation to each other.

The middle has to be interesting for a reader, something that can hold attention so they are vested in reading until the end, or not send a mind off wandering. Middles need special attention and focus, and an alert writer will take pause, step back, and cast a critical eye at every sentence of every element, of every action. If done correctly, this section of a story sets up the ending, engaging and holding a reader’s emotion such that the ending has memorable impact.

How about with your writing? Are the beginnings and ends easier than writing the middle?



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