The Marshland of Middle-land

Status: I’m doped up on medicine and I’m really tired. Oh well, here we go!

The middle of the novel, or rather, of anything, is one of the most tedious portions of the story. Though I personally find that the middle is rather tough, but not as tough as making the perfect beginning – a thing I have chronic problems with, the middle is a pretty formidable foe that has caused many an author to toss in the towel, and give up.

Which leads me to this – what is so scary of the middle?

For me, the middle is hard because you don’t know exactly what is going on. When I write my novels, the middle is the largest portion that is unplotted, especially if I’m pantsing a novel. Yet, the middle is also the place where most of the fun stuff in my novels go, because characters grow, they fall in love, they are killed, they are reborn all in the middle. The middle is where you have the greatest liberty and freedom to do anything you wish. The only problem is figuring out what you want to do.

The middle is a daunting passage of which many people give up on because they cannot tell when it might end. In fact, the fact that the middle even exists turns off many prospective writers. “How will I even reach the end?” Some will lament.

You reach the end by writing, I reply.

There really is no other way to reach the end but by writing onwards. Press onwards, and when you reach the end then you can look back and then chart the route you have made. Sure, it may seem inelegant and indulgent – but the first draft is always inelegant, ugly, and crude. It is only when you see the tracks you have made in the middle that you know where you can improve. And so, one of the biggest ways that helps you to get through the middle is to never look at the ending.

That’s right. You just go into the novel every day, you just sit yourself down, and keep writing. Just keep writing, just keep getting your characters to move onwards, to press forth, and eventually you will reach the end. It will surprise you, that sometimes the ending might come at that point, but the important thing to note is that the ending arrived while you were not focusing on it.

I’m keeping to a commitment myself to write a few hundred words a day on this fanfiction, and though I can guess at how the ending will be, the middle looms before me. And thusly, I cast aside my thoughts of the end, and focus on the middle. I plan for the present, I work for the present, and I shall be ever more surprised when the ending comes to me. The middle is nothing to be afraid of when you put your mind to it and work through it in sustainable bites and pieces.

Every journey begins with a single step, and the middle fits with this idea. To get through the middle, you take that step, and you keep forcing one foot in front of the other till you get to the end.

It’s really that simple. Give it a shot!

Jas

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