I’m not a fan of middles, at least not when it comes to writing. I’ve been working on a book now for the past few months. It’s basically a YA Ocean’s Eleven–with magic. It’s ideally supposed to be a fun romp through an intricate fantasy underground. And from the responses of people who have read sections of it thus far, it’s succeeding.
If only writing it were proving to be as fun.
I’ve already blogged about how finding a character’s voice can be a tricky thing for me to nail down. (The biggest problem being switching from writing the end of one book–where the voice has had time to become very concrete and easy to write for me–over to the beginning of a non-sequel. My writing just keeps trying to veer back to that last voice, and it takes a lot of effort to avoid that.) But once the voice is down, then the book starts to pick up speed.
I’ve got the voice down now. I know the main character better. It’s easier to write what he’s thinking and how he’s responding to situations.
I know how the book begins. (I’ve now revised that–three times. It’ll likely be revised a couple more.) I know how it ends. (Less likely to be revised as heavily.) But sitting down to write the part I’m at right now–the middle–is just proving to be like pulling teeth. Getting that 1,000 words done each day is taking nothing less than pure determination. I sit down at the keyboard and stare at the screen, then find myself thinking of all the things I’d rather be doing. Checking Facebook. Twitter. The news. Writing a blog post. Cleaning the house. Mowing the lawn. Researching something.
Anything but actually writing.
I know this is stupid. Every day, I see firsthand how actually writing that 1,000 words isn’t as difficult as it seems at first. I barrel through it, and I’m done for the day. It’s a great feeling. But then the next day rolls around, and I’m right back there in front of that darn blank spot on the computer screen, watching the cursor blink and wishing it would just type itself.
Why is this such a difficult part?
I think it’s because the beginning is sort of like a puzzle, and I enjoy puzzles. Figuring out how pieces fit together. The ending is exciting. You get to write the build up to the climax and then have a great big scene. That’s a lot of fun. But getting from one point to another–in a way that’s interesting to audiences, and makes that big climax make sense . . .
Anyway. I don’t mean to complain too much. Really, this whole blog post is an illustration of my point. I’m writing this instead of getting my 1,000 words done. Which only postpones the inevitable.
Anyone out there have tips on how to handle the doldrums of the middle? Please share.