Just about four and a half years ago, I was large and round and splitting pregnant with twin boys. I was literally a big mama.
After delivering them (c-section, no less), I had very little left to my abdominal muscles. Going from flat on my back to sitting was nearly impossible.
I had a saggy middle.
Nobody wants a saggy middle.
Now, I’m going to be honest, if I may, my middle isn’t toned. Let’s just say, you can’t scrub your laundry on these abs. But, I have regained mobility. I’m not hard-pressed to sit up anymore.
Had I given up, after the c-section, and decided it was too much work to sit up, I would still have a saggy, useless middle. However, I didn’t let that happen…after all, I had 3 kiddos under the age of 2 at the time. I got up. Moved around. Made my middle work again.
You know, it’s the same for writing.
It is really tempting to put all of the effort into the beginning of the book. A real good invitation for the reader to enter into the story. And it’s equally tempting to put everything into the end. To leave them satisfied or changed or moved.
And it is so very easy to forget how important the middle is.
And, so, the middle gets saggy. Flabby. Immobile. Icky.
Many readers abandon the saggy story. They never get to that FLASH BOOM BANG ending because the middle was too gooshy.
When writing Paint Chips, I was very aware of that potential. My first draft sagged in the middle. Lifeless and lumpy. I had to tone it up. Give it definition. It took hard work. A lot of days refining and cutting and shaping. I had to learn pacing and rhythm and suspense in order to achieve a good form.
And, I have to say, the hard work proved well worth it.
I suspect that saggy middles aren’t unique to post baby mamas or novels.
50% is the hardest place to be on a journey.
Half way is where we are tempted to give up.
Have you experienced a difficult mid-point at some time in your life? A saggy middle? How did you overcome it? Who helped you through? Are you at a saggy middle right now? How are you dealing with it?
I absolutely love to hear what you have to say. Your words are valuable to me.
Have a lovely day!
Cute post. Thank you for the great advice. I find myself struggling with ‘the middle’ of my novel. So rewriting and editing will be important when I get do e with all the words. ~Gail
I think that rewriting and editing is the essence of writing. I, for one, really enjoy it. I’m looking forward to reading that novel of yours one of these day, Gail!
I’m looking forward to the day when I am done and ready to let people read my novel. Could happen in phases. But I know nothing of editing. So it will be a new experience.
I am about 75% done with my first draft of my first novel and all I want to do right now is get through it. I am in the saggy middle. I wanted to finish writing this thing by the end of February so I could take a slight break and then start editing, but I have been in this saggy middle for a while and I am starting to get discouraged. I know if I can just push through to even the beginning of the final act I will be re-inspired, but right now I keep going by telling myself I can edit out any of the terrible at a later point, right now I just have to put butt in chair, fingers to keys, and keep typing.
*starts singing* “Just keep typing, just keep typing, just keep typing, typing, typing. What do we do? We type on through.”
I’ve been there. A Lot. It’s a tough place to find yourself. Push through. Ignore the pain and go. Go. GO! You can do it! And you’ll be so glad when you’re on the other side!
While reading your soggy middle story, it reminded me of our Christian walk. So many times we can get caught up in the beginning; the Shazam of a conversion story or that moment when you’ve first had an encounter with the living God. We can also just as easily, get caught up in the end of the story; that moment where, either through death or Jesus return, we are with God and He makes all things new and right. I know I am guilty too of forgetting the importance of the middle of the story sometimes. We get so focused on the beginning and the end that we skate through life, missing opportunities to witness to others and to be the light that God calls us to be! The middle of the story is very important and we need to “firm up” our middles. We’ve got work to do! 🙂
Exactly! You’re right, Amber!
Good analogy, Susie. I hope my fiction middles are better than my fleshly one.
Ha! I completely understand. But I’m quite certain that your fiction middles are toned! 🙂