In the beginning, we set up our character
Iin the middle, we get them into trouble
In the end, we get them out of trouble.
Sounds so simple! It's tougher than that to pull off.
The middle of a story in particular, as people have talked about, is often the most difficult to write. Writers usually have
some idea how their tale will begin and end. But most middles are murky at first. It's also usually the longest part.
Emma Clare had a helpful article with how to get the middle going:
Having specific story elements to figure out can be a helpful way to get it together - it depends on what kind of story you're telling: the genre, tone, length, and so on. But there on common things that go into the middle bit.
So what KIND of stuff goes in the middle part of a story?
The middle of the story has your character in unfamiliar circumstances. (the first Act showed us their usual familiar territory).
So our little fish is out of water in this part. This is a time for meeting new friends, sidekicks, and love interests (if you have a love interest, they usually show up right around the beginning of Act 2 if we haven't met them yet). The middle section is where we explore the theme a lot more, along with subplots.
Act 2 contains your “trailer moments” as well. What we in the Banes Academy used to call “Fun and Games” where we see your character dealing with the story. It's training for a fight or sporting event. Hiding your new alien pet from your parents. Having fun with your new magic powers.+
The middle is the place to learn lessons, meet new people, and have the Protagonist's horizons broadened and deepened…whether they like it or not.
After the actual halfway mark, things start to go downhill/fall apart. I've noticed this section can have its share of “trailer moments” as well. The hero might still be having fun, but things have gotten more intense. The stakes are higher. Whether the hero knows it or not, enemies are closing in. This is where friendships are tested or maybe lost. Things decay until some really bad event happens, leaving your hero lost, alone or feeling alone, and maybe wishing this whole thing had never happened. That they'd never tried to be something more than they were in the beginning.
And then we get to write the ENDING! We're here!
Painted into a corner!
How do you approach the large wasteland of your story's middle?
Banes at 12:00AM, March 4, 2021
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