Okay, so you’re there, the dreaded middle. The opening was great, you kinda sorta know where to end it, but what the fuck are you going to put in the middle?
Plotting the middle might not be easy, but when you’re starting at that blank piece of paper and desperately trying to get it to work, think about few things:
- Complication. Your character has a goal. What can you throw at them to keep them from reaching it? Don’t think of this as stalling the plot, because it absolutely shouldn’t be. Instead, complicating the situation for the characters should help them grow and achieve the tools they need to reach their goal, whether it’s external or internal or both.
- Tension. Tension in a story is raising the stakes. Your hero is boldly on the path to stopping the bad guy, but oh shit, they’ve kidnapped her girlfriend! The ghostly threat that chases a family out of their home doesn’t just stay put, it follows them wherever they go. The hero was fighting off the zombies for a cure for himself, but shit, now his kid brother is infected too.
- Escalation. Shit gets worse. Things get harder. People reach their emotional boiling point. The romantic leads hate each other. The more the characters have to overcome, the more satisfying the end will be.
These are just a few ideas to keep yourself going, but we’ll keep working at that middle before we turn out attention to the end. If your middle sags, take a good long look at it. How do you make things more complicated, raise the stakes, and make it worse?
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