Fearing The Middle (And Hot Dogs)

So, slight pat on the back moment: I wrote a lot last week. A lot. At a NaNo-esque pace. So I’m really proud of myself for pulling it off.

(Seriously, check out this word meter: image That is a sexy word meter)

Now, that said, the reason the words have been coming so easily to me is because I’m writing a beginning. It’s a project idea I’ve been tossing around in my brain for a while, so I’ve had the anticipation of waiting to start writing, plus the joyous word vomit that is writing a first draft.

And that beautiful word bar? Yeah, that’s all character backstory and world building. Which, in my opinion, is the crack of writing. Honestly, is there anything more addicting that writing gloriously tragic backstory? So–at least in my case–I end up writing pages and pages of delicious backstory that will, inevitably, be ruthlessly cut down in the second draft.

But let’s not focus on that.

Instead, let’s focus on the fact that (in my experience) beginnings are easy. You have all the fresh, shiny ideas and a crap-ton of momentum. Beginnings fly.

And then you hit the middle.

I think it’s similar to watching professional eaters and what they mean when they talk about hitting the wall. Like the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. They start shovelling in those first dozen hot dogs with such gusto, but by number thirty they really don’t want to even think about taking another bite.

For every writer, the middle takes on a different meaning. You might think of it as the exact middle, the midpoint. Or the cruel twist that changes everything. Or some sort of tragic event that spurs your MC on. For me, the middle starts right after the inciting incident and continues until just before the climax. It’s the long, tiring slog between the fun breezy beginning and the fun breezy ending.

So after this week of momentous, easy, endorphin-producing writing, I stand on the edge of a cliff called Middle. And as much as I want to keep up the crazy pace, it’s just not realistic. Because now I need to actually think about a little thing called plot.

Boo.

Well, unless I pull an Italo Calvino and just write a bunch of beginnings to different novels and publish them together in a whimsical, meditation-on-the-art-of-reading way. But I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen.

Hark, Middle! I shall defeat you!

(Charges into battle)

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