Please help me welcome Michele Drier with an informative article and her latest release.
Thank you for joining me, Michele! Your series looks awesome…right up my alley. 🙂
The Middle Third
Most writers know the Dreaded Middle Third. The roughly one-third in the middle of the book where you can get bogged down in telling the story.
You start with a bang, It’s a new story, you’re developing the characters (and you like them!), you have action, maybe a new romance, a dash of fear, all the things that get your adrenaline moving
The last third, well you know the ending and it’s fun tying up all the loose ends, resolving conflicts, settling into a relationship.
But that middle third. This section is where you build the bridges to get from the excitement of a new adventure to the resolution at the end. It’s many times the crux of the book. The characters get depth, sometimes so much they take over. The tension increases. Does Character A know the background of Character B…let alone how s/he’s overcome it? Or is it still there, sabotaging every move?
Will Character C really go in that small, creepy basement?
Will they or won’t they fall in love?
What challenges raise their ugly heads? How many fears are standing in the way of a happy ending?
All good stuff. Harder to write.
What happens when Character B takes off with the narrative and you find that she’s developed an aversion to all those traits that intrigued her about Character A? Wow, this feels like a much stronger story and you like her new, feisty personality. It’ll never get her from the first to the last third, though.
Do you leave her like this, go back and rewrite the first third? How will that change affect the other characters? The plot?
Will the resolution change?
Probably plotters have a little easier time with the middle third, but for pantsers like me, one has to tread carefully. You give the characters space to tell their story, guiding them toward the resolution, but you don’t always know until you’ve written it, what’s going to happen.
Will the protag get pushed off the boat? Will an old lover show up? Is there abuse in the past? What’s he lying about? How will this affect the relationship?
It’s more difficult writing the middle third. A lot of times it’s like juggling four, five, six balls or kintting a sweater without a pattern. Oops, I have three sleeves! This is the time, though, where you can let the plot grow organically, following faint paths of desire, defeat, dishonesty, deceit.
I’m deep in the middle third of my thirteenth book, a stand-alone psychological thriller with a working title of Ashes of Memory. It’s different from anything else I’ve written and juggling the balls is trickier. I believe one can learn from any experiences, no matter how weird, no matter how old. And this exercise is teaching me not to be complacent, stay open to new ideas. I have one character who will turn out to be the opposite of what he appears and I’ve never written a villain like this before.
I’ll finish it this summer and I’m hoping to emerge at the end a stronger plotter, stronger writer, stronger story-teller.
How are you planning to spend your summer vacation?
Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home. During her career in journalism—as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers—she won awards for producing investigative series.
Her Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries are Edited for Death, (called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review), Labeled for Death and Delta for Death.
Her paranormal romance series, The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, has received “must read” reviews from the Paranormal Romance Guild and was the best paranormal vampire series of 2014. The series is SNAP: The World Unfolds, SNAP: New Talent, Plague: A Love Story, Danube: A Tale of Murder, SNAP: Love for Blood, SNAP: Happily Ever After?, SNAP: White Nights, SNAP: All That Jazz, SNAP: I, Vampire .
Visit her webpage, www.micheledrier.com