Last night, as I got ready for bed, I pulled out a pad of paper that I’ve been trying to use up (am I the only person out there who owns 836 pads of paper only partially used?). I’ve written goals for when school is out in less than a month.
“Hey,” I said to Carolina. “I gotta come up with something for my novel. I’m about a chapter into the middle of a mid-grade. Maybe two chapters in.”
She looked at me. Probably got scared I was gonna start whining the way I always do when I’m writing the middle of a book.
Ah, yes. The Icky Middles.
This is the place where people develop Writer’s Block.
That thing I don’t believe in.
This is the place where, for me (and lots others–hence so many beginning and fewer completed pieces) the writing gets really tough.
The middle of a book is the work of writing.
Sure, I have all the ideas for this novel. Right here in my head. Now all I need are words.
Words for the middle.
Interesting words, thank you very much.
So. Last night, in a couple-of-minutes brain storm session, I came up with the middle of the novel.
Here’s my Number One hint about Writing for the Middle of the Book: Trust Yourself.
As I sat with that pad of paper, I thought about my twin gal characters.
And their grandparents.
I knew this book couldn’t be a story about the actual 150 mile trip they would make. I already have a novel about a trip. Everyone in the world should buy and read Signed, Skye Harper. This will make me rich plus you’ll get what I’m saying about trips in stolen vehicles and kissing and chickens and dogs. (Information added for intrigue.)
Back to my sitting and thinking.
As writers, we leave clues for our readers. Just like in a mystery. All these clues play into the middle of the book.
For example, this novel is set in 1969.
What significant thing happened in 1969?
What music was popular?
What did Florida look like?
One of these three things will play more heavily into the plot than the other two (those will add details that makes the book feel real.).
What about wrasseling in the late sixties? After all, this is a book about wrasseling.
How much fact can I twist for my own benefit? Throw over my shoulder? Squeeze into a choke hold?
What other clues were hidden in the opening of this mid grade?
Of course. The rest of players in the story.
What about Miss Emery, Etta’s teacher?
And Mr. Johnson, Kat’s teacher?
What about The Fabulous Moolah?
And Ray who can sing the Star Spangled Banner like an adult. Will he show up again?
I’ve set up these sisters who are competitive with each other. Can I use that int he story?
Then the grandparents hate each other. Will that play into the middle?
What about the four of them running off without permission. How will that work?
What I’m saying is, the clues I leave for a reader, well, they’re in the book for me, too. I planted them as I wrote the opening. And I didn’t even know I was doing it.
Last night I wrote down several events that could happen.
This morning, while typing this blog post, I thought of one or two more incidents.
Now all I need to do is get to writing.
Uncover and use what’s waiting for me.
Just trust myself.