I am nearing the halfway mark of my latest work in progress and while for some writers that will be something to celebrate, for me it is the opposite. Why? Because it means the dreaded ‘sagging middle’ is right around the corner. Thus bringing my writing/plotting/creativity to a grinding halt and causing me to bang my head up and down on my desk all day, every day until I see light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
Now most of you would have heard of this ‘sagging middle’ phrase and know what it means, others won’t. Let me explain.
It is the part of my story writing that I hate the most and occurs every single time, with every single book. I am a blend of two kinds of writer. I am half plotter and half pantser. I always have a two to three page synopsis written as well as character sketches for my hero and heroine before I start writing. However, from page one to the end I continually write the first draft without stopping or editing. The hard work comes in drafts two and three.
The problem is no matter how much detail I feel I’ve put into the synopsis, no matter how much I have written it with my ‘sagging middle’ weakness in mind, there it always is. Bam, like a grinning little cartoon devil poised to poke me in the behind with his shiny trident as soon as I am about halfway through.
So the question is, how do I deal with it? The only way I know how. Keep writing. I dread going to my desk for these days. Have zero enthusiasm or belief in myself or my work. I sit my backside in the chair anyway. These days writing is like pulling teeth but I force myself to write at least a thousand rubbish words a day. The beauty of it is when I feel the sun reappearing as I climb out of the middle and start heading for the home run, I read back what I wrote through those torturous days and I can be guaranteed to keep at least half of it. Result!
So what about you writers out there? Do you suffer with the same weakness as me? Yes? What’s your trick for beating this particular devil?
Or are you a reader? Have you noticed a ‘sagging middle’ in books? Maybe you see them more often than editors do, lol! I love to hear from you.