Tag Archives: write tip

The Murky Middle

On our “off” week, something interesting for the writers among our followers…

But readers, you may be curious about this too. Do you ever feel like a book slooows down some in the middle and gets a bit draggy.

It’s not your imagination. The middle of a story is the hardest part to write. The writer has to give all the details that will allow the story to unfold and make sense as it moves toward the climax, but also keep the pace consistent with the rest of the book.

Not an easy task. Indeed, the murky middle is the bane of our existence. Here are some tips for writers from Joanne Guidoccio on ways to deal with it.

On Navigating the Murky Middle by Joanne Guidoccio

Joanne Guidoccio

(Note: when you click the link above, you have to scroll down some to see the post)

I love beginnings—in life and on the page. Anything and everything is possible whenever a blank slate appears before me. That momentum can last for days, weeks, months, and sometimes even longer.

At least, that’s what I like to think whenever I begin a new writing project.

A linear pantser, I write brief character sketches, plot the first three chapters and the last, and then let the words flow. At some point, usually around Page 80, I encounter the murky middle, that nebulous place where I find it difficult to continue or sustain the tension of the novel. In short, I’m lost with no clear trail or direction in sight.

In the early days of my writing career, I struggled to regain my motivation, wondering if I should abandon the novel. Thankfully, I have discovered three strategies that have lifted me out of the abyss.  READ MORE…

(Note: when you click the link above, you have to scroll down some to see the post)

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The Power of Group Support

by Kassandra Lamb

I’m in the middle of a two-week stint of fast-drafting. What is fast-drafting, you might ask?

A bunch of authors get together and make a commitment to themselves and each other that they will write X number of words per day for a certain period of time. Each author sets their own goals but they’re not supposed to let anything interfere with making it happen.

I’m going for 3,000 words a day, an ambitious but not unreasonable goal. I’m normally lucky if I write 3-4,000 new words per week. Mainly because too many other things come up that need my time and attention, or at the very least, they break my train of thought.

(public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

(public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

But having made this commitment to the group, I have been able, for the most part, to give myself permission to ignore most of those other demands (fire or blood, I will probably respond to 😉 ).

And it’s amazing how much the cheering section of the group can do for one’s motivation.

Each day we report in on our progress and everybody comments with Woohoo’s and Yay’s if we make our goal, or even if we don’t but we at least get some new words on the page. If we hit a snag, the group will rally around and offer support and advice to get us unstuck.

The last time I did this, it was just a one-day affair, with 30 to 60-minute “sprints.” It happened to land on a day when I had many other distractions and obligations. I wasn’t able to participate in all of the sprints. And yet I cranked out over 6,000 words that day. During one 60-minute sprint alone, I wrote 3,000 words.

I’m not real sure why the group support makes such a difference. It’s really a bit of a mystery. It all remains positive. If you fail to make your goal for the day, nobody gives you a hard time. Indeed, the group will commiserate. And somehow that makes one that much more determined to write more the next day.

It’s amazing. Truly this kind of group effort gives meaning to the saying:

The whole is greater than the parts!

It reminds me of when I worked with a group called Women Build. They were an all-female crew that built houses for Habitat for Humanity. There were a few young, strong women in the group but most of us were middle-aged or older. Nonetheless, we managed to hang drywall and sand floors and shingle roofs. A dozen or so of us would show up at the building site each Saturday morning, and together we’d somehow get things done that none of us would dream of doing by ourselves. In less than a year, we had built a house!

How about you? Have you ever found you could do something as part of a group that you’d never have accomplished all on your own?

This fast-drafting session was organized, by the way, by my sister mp author, K.B. Owen. Check out her post if you’d like to know more about why fast-drafting with a group is so successful for authors. I especially like Elizabeth Anne Mitchell’s comment about outrunning one’s inner critic. 🙂

If you are an aspiring writer, you might want to check out my new guidebook for newbie authors.

It’s just 99 cents for a limited time! (Goes up to $2.99 soon.)

a SomedayIsHere FINAL (1)Someday Is Here! by Kassandra Lamb

This easy-to-read, how-to guide is full of both practical advice and emotional support. Psychotherapist turned successful mystery writer, Kassandra Lamb takes novice writers by the hand and walks with them on their journey, pointing out pitfalls along the way, some of which she discovered through tumbled-head-first-into-them experience.

From the decisions to be made before setting pen to paper to whether to submit to agents or self-publish, from the basics of writing craft to the nuts and bolts of copyrighting and ISBNs, from promotion strategies to the perseverance needed to make your writing business a success, this overview of the writing and publishing process is a must-read for new authors who aren’t sure what they’re getting themselves into.

AVAILABLE NOW ON (just $0.99): AMAZON US AMAZON UK AMAZON CA APPLE KOBO B&N

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington mystery series, set in her native Maryland, and a new series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy mysteries, set in Central Florida.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week, usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not lend, sell nor otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses. 😉 )